Federal SchoolVouchers

 

The following  emanates from having experienced a walk of forty four plus four years through the halls of public education.

It is the nature of many who occupy positions in the walled towers of government and the ivory towers of intelligentsia to claim for themselves the mantel of superior problem solvers for all other people. Well meaning as some may be, their approaches ofttimes create more problems than they solve. As it is viewed here, the school choice/voucher idea runs a great risk of falling into that category.

These are a few of the problems that must be resolved, either before or after the passage of such federal legislation. State plans of the same nature face most of the same issues, but that could be the topic of a slightly more specific discussion. Of a certainty, anyone of a mature and open mind would not feign alarm if the responses to most of the questions happened to arouse a vigorous exercise of the litigious nature of today’s society.

To wit:

Foremost, is it even within the enumerated powers of the federal government to directly provide taxpayer funds to selected individuals?

Will any student in any school be eligible for the choice and voucher?

If not, what will be the criteria for individual student qualification?

What if the receiving schools reach maximum enrollment, and there are still other students who qualify?

What if there are no receiving schools within reasonable accessibility?

Will the plan be applicable and practicable only in urban areas?

If that is the resolution, where is the equal protection under the law?

Will receiving public schools be responsible for equal rights of transportation?

If students have established records of disruptive behavior, must receiving schools be compelled to enroll them?

Will receiving schools be permitted to dismiss incorrigible students?

Considerations specific to private school enrollment:

What if the amount of the voucher is insufficient to cover tuition?

  • If some can provide the remainder and others cannot, will the law be discriminatory?
  • If the law provides increased payments for the less fortunate, who decides who is less fortunate?
  • And where will that line be drawn?
  • If the private school does not furnish transportation, who will furnish it for the less fortunate?…  And if it is not furnished, how can those students avail themselves of the school choice?

Will private schools be allowed to:

Set standards of admission? Determine curriculum? Display religious symbols? Engage in daily prayer? Require classes in religious doctrine? Teach biblical moral standards?

Will private schools be held accountable for dropouts?

Will private school students be required to master federally mandated tests? If not, how can there be “accountability”?

Overall, if voucher students regress or show scant improvement:

Can the law and expense be justified?

Will the receiving school then suffer some degree of condemnation?

And, most heavily, will the final results justify the enormous cost of another large and probably “perpetual” bureaucracy?

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Beloved Child of Congress: Dept. of Ed.

This is being offered as food for thought. There are no opinions expressed herein. Opinions formed are the prerogative of the viewer.

A timeline of true events:

  • [1789] The very first sentence of the very first article of the US Constitution states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives”. Article I continues to enumerate the areas to which those legislative powers may extend.  There is no mention whatsoever of any federal authority regarding public education. James Madison declared the intention of the Constitution was that the powers of the federal government were specifically enumerated, and the states had authority over “the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people”.  This was reemphasized by Amendment X. Remember this as you continue.
  • [1847] The Principles of Communism call for “Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mothers’ care, in national establishments at national cost”.
  • [1864] The first Communist International convened for the long range purpose of promoting world wide spread of communistic philosophy.
  • [1867] Earliest Department of Education was created, but was quickly demoted to “office” status and languished in the Department of Interior for decades.
  • [1920] The second Communist International convened.
  • [1939] The Office of Education was moved to a more prominent position in the Federal Security Agency.
  • [1953] The Federal Security Agency was upgraded to cabinet level status as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
  • [1963] Goal 41 of the Communist Party USA emphasized the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents.
  • [1979] The Department of Education was given its own cabinet level position. There were constitutional objections raised due to the absence of any such enumerated power, but “plausibility” for justification was found somewhere in the Commerce Clause and the Taxing and Spending Clause.
  • [Today] The Department of Education itself consists of more than forty different bureaucratic entities with a total budget approaching (as best I can find) eighty billion dollars. This bureaucracy and others such as the Department of Agriculture, which controls school lunch programs(???), are free to exercise their discretion in dictates to the American people. Any edict emanating from these unelected sources effectively carries the force of law by simply suggesting that federal distribution of funds may be influenced by the degree of state compliance. No Congressional representatives of the people need be consulted. Further, various politicians are advocating “free” federal education from age 3 or 4 through college.

Again, conclusions drawn and efforts exercised in further personal inquiry reside with the reader.

 

 

 

 

 

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For Teachers and Students of US History

 

Followers of this blog have seen some of this earlier, but this is a copy of information that is being placed in the hands of as many history teachers as possible…

American culture and the U. S. Constitution have been under attack for many decades. As Thomas Jefferson warned, the courts have twisted words and squeezed meanings to fit their own prejudices in these attacks. One reason the opponents have achieved so much success lies at the feet of the US public school systems. Whether unknowingly or insidiously, there have been omissions and obfuscations of historical records for generations.  Sadly, when shown the truth, some educators timidly cover their eyes, ears and mouths. There are only three alternatives to this reaction.  They fear consequences, refuse to believe it because of their own training, or they are participants in the attacks.

To illustrate the point, a brief display of omitted records should suffice. Two areas of the above mentioned attack are the denial of the significance of spiritual influence in the founding of our country and the obfuscated constitutional interpretation of the “wall of separation between church and state”. It may be bold to opine, but a very miniscule number of American history teachers have ever exposed their students to the following records:

One real time and unbiased opinion of spiritual influence in our country’s founding was recorded by the Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville.   Tocqueville was a political scientist, historian and diplomat who spent nine months during 1831 on an analytical tour of the United States. From that experience he later completed an extensive literary work titled, Democracy in America. Following is a condensation of his analysis of spiritual influence in a country that had so quickly taken its place among the long established nations:

“On my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things… The sects which exist in the United States are innumerable… Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner; but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God…. Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same… I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion…  But am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens, or a party, but to the whole nation and to every rank of society.”

Some forty four years prior to the arrival of Tocqueville, eighty one year old Benjamin Franklin stood to speak to the Constitutional Convention that had convened in an attempt to prevent the collapse of their union which had been floundering under an agreement called the Articles of Confederation. The men had believed that the task would require an effort of two weeks or so, but the Articles were beyond adjustment and a different system of government was the only solution. They eventually labored six days a week for more than three months.  At one point, as contentions arose and debates were heated, the respected Franklin addressed the president of the convention to bring a motion to the floor:

   “Mr. President
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other-our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it’. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service-“ (The Avalon Project, Lillian Goldman Library, Yale Law School)

About two months later the world’s first written constitution was completed. After ratification by the states, George Washington was elected president, and his first inaugural address included these words (underscoring added):

“… it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow- citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency… “ (The Avalon Project)

In Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address we see his opinion:

(Our country is) “… enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter…” (The Avalon Project)

In the close of Jefferson’s second inaugural address he professes:

“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.” (The Avalon Project)

Having addressed the spiritual influence in our founding, consider now the fallacy of the current interpretation of that “wall of separation between church and state”. Because of the current worship of that expression, some folks believe it is found in the US Constitution. It is not. The only mention of religion in the original document is that no religious test can be required to hold federal office.

Subsequent to ratification of the original constitution, Amendment I specifically denied Congress the power to establish a national religion. The term “national religion” was universally understood by those who wrote and ratified the original US Constitution. The people of those days were aware that various central governments (kings and parliaments) had historically required all people to support specific religions by financial contributions and participation. Because this and other information has been withheld from students for many generations, when challenged in a court of law, we now meekly acquiesce to the claim that a nativity scene in a public place is tantamount to a law passed by the US Congress.

That “separation” thing actually came from a letter Pres. Jefferson wrote in response to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Conn. When pressed on the subject, the attackers will claim Jefferson’s intellectual stature in constitutional comprehension validates their position. However, they never offer a more complete examination of the exchange of letters. The Baptists, who were under religious oppression by their state legislature, had written to Jefferson (underscoring added):

“Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States is not the National Legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each State, but our hopes are strong that the sentiment of our beloved President, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these States…” (Wall Builders)

To which Jefferson replied (parenthetical expressions added):

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act (Amendment I) of the whole American people which declared that their legislature (Congress) would ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State (the federal government). Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights… I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man…” (The Avalon Project)

It must be emphasized that the Baptists did not appeal for constitutional enforcement by the president, the attorney general or the SCOTUS. Nor did any of those entities consider it to be within their constitutional authority. At that time, everyone knew the First Amendment restriction applied, as plain English clearly states, only to acts of the US Congress.

About a decade later, as intended by the framers of the US Constitution, the people of Connecticut were able to correct the matter through their votes for state legislators.

For further confirmation of Jefferson’s opinion that any form of religious expression is beyond federal control, we note his second inaugural address (underscoring added):

“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state or church authorities.” (The Avalon Project)

President Jefferson not only made specific the denial of federal authority expressed in Amendment I, he reaffirmed the restrictions which are placed upon the federal government by Amendments IX and X regarding the rights of the people.

Over 150 years were required for the SCOTUS to invent the current “separation” interpretation. If we are to accept and proclaim that view as the “law of the land”, we have a problem. We are forced to accuse Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, as well as the Congresses and SCOTUS of their day, of being incapable of understanding the document they had ratified and exercised.

If this information, and much more that is available, had been presented to history students over the last two hundred years, our current understanding of the relationship between church and state would probably be quite different.

Two prescient statements:

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”  Thomas Paine

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of society, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson

 

Questions?…. billhunter@windstream.net

 

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Letter To A Young American

Dear Joe,

You recently noted a concern regarding the value of a person’s vote in our country. Let me share some stuff with you. Even though this will be a thumb nail sketch of information that is pertinent, I hope some insight will be provided.

First, it is very important to emphasize that our unique form of government came into being when the states created the federal government… not the other way around.

We have been told and taught for decades that we are a “democracy”. Even our politicians speak of our “democracy”. From the beginning, people of other countries thought we were a democracy. In 1847, Friedrich Engels mistakenly wrote, in The Principles of Communism, that the USA would be an easy convert because we had a “democratic constitution”. It was not then, and was never intended to be, such a document. The founders knew that historical experiments in that form of government had ended badly.

For some reason, there are many who assume when people vote they must be participating in a democracy. The democratic principle of voting has been observed in Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela. No one mistakes those countries as being free and open societies. We need to be more interested in learning the structure and functions of our own government before we continue to wander down a dangerous path.

The men who designed the structure of our government installed safeguards against the weaknesses and dangers that have been inherent in true democracies as well as those found in dictatorial oligarchies. One area of illustration is the purposely varied methods by which the members of the separate branches of government are selected.

Please note how the vote of the people is intricately interwoven in the following mechanism of our government.

The members of the House of Representatives are chosen for two year terms by direct democratic vote of the people in the respective districts. The number of representatives allowed is determined by each state’s proportion of the population of the country.

The members of the Senate were originally chosen by the state legislators for six year terms with each state allowed two senators. Of course the state legislators were themselves elected by the people of their state. Unfortunately, in 1913, the people of the country were manipulated into ratifying an amendment which changed the selection of senators to statewide popular votes.

The president may serve a maximum of two terms, four years each. That executive officer is elected by a slate of electors, called the Electoral College. The number of electors to which each state is entitled is equal to their total number of members of the House and Senate. This allows for a preponderance of influence from the popular vote with a moderating factor for consideration of the differences among the several states. What the people of the states are voting for in today’s presidential elections is a group of people who are supposedly committed to supporting a particular candidate.

The justices of the Supreme Court are nominated by the president and approved by the Senate. The length of their service is limited only by their behavior. Even though the justices are not subject to the vote of the people, those who elevate them to their offices are in some fashion dependent upon the voters.

Now, Joe, since you have some concern regarding our most recent presidential election, let’s address that.

As of 11/28/16, it appears that HRC has received a nationwide “democratic” popular margin of about two million votes. She did not win the Electoral College vote. This would suggest to some that the “will of the people of the country” had been thwarted. However, upon closer inspection, we see that the combined popular vote of only California and New York provided HRC with a popular margin of more than four million votes. Excluding the votes of those two states, the votes of the remaining forty eight states resulted in a popular margin of some two million votes in favor of DJT.

We may now lodge an opinion that two states would be “dictating” to the remaining forty eight if the popular vote was the sole determinant. Perhaps the logic of the founders is more apparent in their efforts to place a hindrance in the development of a tyranny of a few highly populated states over the remaining majority of the states.

So, my friend Joe, I hope this wee bit of information gives you a basis for a broader perspective regarding this form of self government which has only occurred once in the history of the world.

Addendum (11/29/16):  re the 2016 vote… I just received much more detailed information supporting the Electoral College…. It’s out there… You’ll see it…

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Fools Hate Knowledge

The things to be shared here may be considered controversial by some. The primary reason for them to be considered controversial goes back to my repeatedly shared thought of Thomas Paine: “A long habit of not knowing a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right”. 

Though some would have you believe otherwise, those who constructed the US Constitution did not frame it in complex legal terms designed only for examination by learned attorneys and judges of the higher courts. It was written in plain English, understandable by the general public, and circulated throughout the 13 states for the purpose of gaining popular approval for ratification. Unfortunately, long ago, general interest in the meanings of those simple words have become of less and less concern. This is especially true among those who have supposedly professed to teach those words and others who vow to defend and protect them. The result has been widely accepted infringements on the true protections provided by the US Constitution (see Thomas Paine above).

Without delving into what would necessarily be a lengthy historical background of the founder’s motives for their constitutional wording, let’s look at a specific example. That concern is a thing called “executive action” that we are to accept like foolish sheep. We do so because we do not know better and are fearful of embracing the truth.

Article I, Section 1 of our constitution states:

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”

Do we need someone with a political title or lofty intellectual standing to tell us what the word “All” means? That was a rhetorical question.

That next word, “legislative”, has more than three letters in it, so we may need to consult Webster’s 1828 online dictionary. There we find that it has something to do with making laws. We further find that any action that mandates, prohibits or permits specific actions by the people is a law, no matter what else we may want to call it. In the federal government, only Congress has such powers over the people, and those are specifically enumerated.

Moving to Article II, Section 3, there is a requirement that the US President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. This is simple English. There is no wiggle room for creating, modifying, delaying or ignoring the laws that are passed by Congress. The President is ultimately responsible for filling the offices of the various executive departments, but those departments are for the purpose of executing existing law, not adding to or otherwise modifying. There is no allowance for the President or any executive department to engage in the making of laws, just because we rename them “executive orders” or “regulations”. Further, Congress does not have the constitutional authority to confer such power to any other entity.

We have even reached the point of lack of knowledge of the truth that we are now accepting that a negotiated agreement between countries is no longer a “treaty” if we call it a “deal”.

The clamor from those who are offended by this information now arises:

“But look at all the others who have done it!”

… And I say:

“Look at what Thomas Paine said”… and that would be quickly followed by the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, “A nation that expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of society, expects what never was and never will be”.

 

 

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Abolition of Private Property

Let’s suppose some guy told you he was going to take something away from you. Then he proceeded to tell you precisely how he was going to do it, whether you liked it or not. Now suppose he began to do exactly what he said he was going to do, and lots of folks encouraged him because he told them he was going to give them some of your stuff.

At that point (1) would you say, “He didn’t really mean what he said, and furthermore, anyone who claims he did must be some kind of a conspiracy kook!”?…  Or (2) would you do everything within your power to stop him?

Let’s just see which one you would choose.

About 15 years or so before our “Civil War”, a couple of guys named Marx and Engels devised a plan for a utopian world society. Of course they saw themselves and people of their persuasion as the directors of that dream world.

Engels produced a written design of that worldwide plan in 1847. It was called The Principles of Communism, concisely stated in 25 principles. It was written in Q & A form. For the purpose of determining your answer to the aforementioned questions, only a few of the principles will be noted.

Principle 14 – What will this new social order have to be like? “… The abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution…”

Principle 17 – Will it be possible for private property to be abolished in one stroke? “No… the… revolution will transform existing society gradually…”

Principle 18 – What will be the course of this revolution? “Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution… “, and, “The main measures … are the following…” …“(i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.)…”

Principle 25 – What is the attitude of the communists to the other political parties of our time? “In America, where a democratic constitution has already been established, the communists must make a common cause with the party which will turn this constitution against the bourgeoisie… “.  Engels had explained that bourgeoisie meant capitalists.

In then Senator Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, he shared that Warren Buffett, perhaps the second richest man in the world, invited him to discuss tax policy. They spent some time talking about “globalization” and other topics, but Mr. Buffett was particularly “exercised” about Pres. George Bush’s proposed elimination of the estate tax. He exclaimed, “When you get rid of the estate tax, you’re basically handing over command of the country’s resources to people who did not earn it”, that is, the surviving family members. Senator Obama concurred and further complained that the distribution of wealth was skewed and at some point “one has enough”. This might cause one to wonder, at what point would Warren Buffett and Barack Obama allow someone else to distribute their wealth?

As an added note of generally known fact, one of our political parties favors the inheritance tax, and the other does not.

Now, you are free to reconsider the two questions that were originally posed.

 

 

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Question Re Islam

Our local newspaper has, in times past, published letters noting the peaceful nature of the Qur’an, the Prophet and his traditions. Even though such items can be truthfully cited, there seem to be other, supposedly authentic, records that reveal conflicting views.  I cannot speak, read or write the Arabic language.   Therefore, I am respectfully and seriously in need of validation of the sources upon which to base my understanding. If my views of a contradictory nature are the result of invalid sources, those opinions should be open to correction.

First of all, violent aggression practiced by Muslims of the post Mohammed era is historically documented.  Upon the death of the Prophet, violence erupted over leadership of the movement. This conflict continues today (Sunnis/Shiites).  The practice of military conquest also brought about the submission of all of North Africa and achieved success in the invasion of Spain and part of France.  Those conquerors claimed to be acting in the name of Allah and under the auspices of the Prophet of Islam. All of that was accomplished some three hundred years before the first Christian Crusade was initiated.

As for the true expression of the teachings and traditions of the Prophet, again, my sources that appear to be in conflict with the peaceful nature of the Prophet may be invalid. Those reports are supposedly based on the recordings of Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d, selections from the Qur’an and collections of traditions found in the Bukhari.

Brevity will allow only a couple of examples of violence committed during the time of Muhammad.

  • The Prophet directed a siege of revenge against the Banu Qurayzah, a Jewish tribe. Following their surrender, he allowed and participated in the slaughter of all males above the age of puberty.
  • Demeaning poems were published, and the Prophet called for the assassination of the poets. The requests were honored.

Question:

If these records of the actions of the Prophet and the historical records of post Muhammad Islamic  invasions are valid… how can we believe that Islamic immigration is no cause for concern?

I must deflect one retort which has already  been presented to me.

To wit: “Look at the atrocious violence committed by Christians, look at the Inquisitions.”

To which I responded: “You have a point that men have done such things in the past, but I declare that such men do not portray the founder of their faith. Jesus would not allow his disciples to commit violence to protect him from certain death. The only records I can find indicate that Muhammad called for the death of people who hurt his feelings.”

If there is someone who will publicly and accurately convince me that my previously noted records of Islam are false, my opinions are subject to change.

 

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