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Home > The Beat of a Dangerous Drum Can Already Be Heard - by Dr. Michael Farris

The Beat of a Dangerous Drum Can Already Be Heard

November 6th, 2008

By PHC Chancellor, Dr. Michael Farris

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

Dr. Michael Farris

On the morning after the election, amidst the shouts of jubilation, cries for “change” in America had reached a crescendo. Simultaneously, softer though no less emphatic voices emerged from the victorious camp. These demanded that “change” in America must include “re-entering the international community.”

Julie Mertes, a professor at American University and author of an award-winning book on human rights and American foreign policy, was one of the earliest to call for America’s re-entry into the global community through a series of UN human rights treaties.  In an open letter to “President Obama” published on the “Foreign Policy in Focus” website, Mertes urged Obama to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, among others.  

While Mertes may need to sharpen her understanding of the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (it was already signed by the United States during the Clinton administration), her hunch that it is somehow not applicable is correct since it has never been ratified by the Senate.

What would it mean if the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were, in fact, ratified? It would mean that the government (with the “helpful oversight” of the UN) would be legally authorized to override every single decision a parent makes, if the government believes that the “best interest” of the child would be served.

And the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties contains this shocking statement in Article 27: “A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.”

What this means, quite simply, is that under Article 27 American law would become subservient to international law. This includes our Constitution.  Thankfully, we are not today bound by the provisions of Article 27.  But if we ratify the Treaty containing Article 27, the United States Senate will have pledged the United States of America to submit to the principle that international treaties prevail over every aspect of American law.

In the drumbeat for “change” that will certainly animate President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, I fear we will encounter an atmosphere whereby decisions will be based on emotions rather than cool-headed thinking. And in the new wave of internationalist fervor, I foresee the loss of some of our most basic principles.

These are but two of the more obvious dangers we face.

So what are we to do?

How are we to think? What does God have to say to us at such a moment?

Having reflected upon this in recent weeks and months, I believe one passage is, by far, the most fitting:

Jeremiah 29:11 states: “'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord,' plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

These are indeed comforting words for us today. But why would we think that they are applicable at this moment?

Interestingly enough, Jeremiah 29 was written to the people of Israel as a part of God’s judgment upon that nation for its sin.  They were being carted off to Babylon for 70 years of captivity. It is very telling that, at the very moment that God’s people were expecting a period of exile and captivity, He expressed his heartfelt desire to pour out blessings upon them. He wanted their welfare, not their calamity.  He wanted a bright future with hope. 

I find it remarkable that the changes now at our doorstep have been wrapped in a similar package of rhetoric—welfare, not calamity, a future with hope.  But the question is whether our hope is in man or in God—in a type of socialism that casts government as man’s salvation, or in the freedom that can only come from a nation that protects those things that God honors and eschews that which is wrong.

We can and will pray for President Obama, that he would be guided by God to do the right things for our nation. We honor God by praying sincerely for our leaders. But if he leads in the manner that his past suggests, and in deference to voices like Professor Mertes, we face troubling days indeed. 

But let us be encouraged to know that, even if we find ourselves in such a place, God wants what is good for us. God wants to give us a hope and a future. But Jeremiah 29 also reveals that the promise is a conditional one. Look at the next few verses:

“‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 'And I will be found by you,' declares the Lord,' and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the Lord,' and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)

Let me be clear: it is not up to the Republican Party to restore our fortunes.  It is not up to the conservative movement.  It is not up to the media.  It is not up to the general public.

This passage is directed to the people who claim to be God’s people, to those who seek to follow Him every day of their lives.  The future of this nation rests upon our own faithfulness to God.

We dare not point fingers at others.  The well-known verse 2 Chronicles 7:14 makes this clear:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

What must we now do?

Romans 1 tells us that when people do not “retain the knowledge of God,” He turns them over “to a depraved mind” to do that which should not be done. For decades, Christians have been turning their children’s education over to those who hold an alien philosophy.

A recent PBS broadcast on young evangelical leaders demonstrates this problem.  Students who supported Obama at Calvin College, a self-proclaimed “Christian liberal arts college,” were contrasted with Alex and Brett Harris, twin brothers and co-authors of the book, Do Hard Things, who now attend Patrick Henry College.  The abortion issue alone, they said, was enough to disqualify Obama in their mind. 

Alex and Brett have been home-educated. And while PBS didn’t address how the Calvin students had been educated, it’s fair to assume that the vast majority attended public schools, as are most evangelical students.

The net message of the PBS broadcast was this: many evangelical young people are now embracing many of the same values as the secular world. Alex and Brett stood out clearly as an exception to this tendency. 

How can the Christian community expect the rest of the nation to vote our values when we don’t educate our own young according to those same values? When we allow the world, rather than God’s Word, to influence our youth, how can we complain when those who would remove God from the public square altogether sweep into office with landslide victories?

There is a path of blessing ahead for those who are faithful to God. And that path begins with following God’s great commandment.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7: 

 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!   You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

If we want to demonstrate our love for God, we must first be obedient to teach our children to love God and obey His commands. Teaching our own children the truths of God is one of the key requirements we must meet if we expect to see the blessings that God promises in Jeremiah 29.

Patrick Henry College is not the entire solution for the future of this nation.  But, I believe with all of my heart that it is one of the keys. Our mission is clear. Train Christian young men and women to love God, obey His commands, and embrace the principles of freedom and virtue that launched the great experiment known as the American Republic.  

This is not a time to shrink from this mission. We must redouble our efforts in this long-range battle to do that which is right with the next generation.  God is just waiting to bless us.