Were Prayers at Trump’s Inauguration Legal?

58th-presidential-inaugurationThe 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee has invited six faith leaders to participate in the Trump/Pence swearing-in ceremony. The announcement of the diverse and broad clergy lineup affirmed the new administration’s commitment to “honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”

The formal announcement identified those scheduled to give scriptural readings, invocations, or benedictions at this public ritual as Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Archbishop of New York), and Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In addition, the swearing-in ceremonies will feature Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Detroit’s Great Faith Ministries International.

Apparently, blessings at presidential inaugurations have been a part these ceremonies for more than two centuries and were initially conducted by the salaried Senate chaplain. However, since 1933, various clergy have been invited to participate by the president-elect. Billy Graham, Franklin Graham’s famous-evangelist father, offered prayers at the presidential inaugurations of Richard Nixon (in 1969), George H.W. Bush (in 1989) and Bill Clinton (in 1993 and 1997). Additionally, known as the “pastor to presidents,” the senior Graham has also led private prayer services before the inaugural ceremonies.

However, in our hyper and politically correct society, inviting clergy involvement in recent inaugural ceremonies has been criticized on the basis of “separation of church and state.” Or, if Jesus Christ or of the Trinity were mentioned in these “parochial prayers,” some have been accused of offending non-Christian citizens.

Author and historian Bill Federer has written on this subject and has collected segments of judicial rulings, proving that the U.S. Constitution does not require complete “separation of Church and State.”  Here are just a few Continue reading

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Pray for Safety and Spiritual Significance at the Inaugural Ceremonies!

america_flagSupreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will swear in Vice President-elect Mike Pence, at this week’s Inaugural ceremony, when he takes the oath of office on Friday.

Justice Thomas was recently snubbed by ethnic elitists and denied a place in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall, in D.C. He will now be part of history, becoming the first black Supreme Court justice to ever swear in the president or vice president, while overlooking the Mall, in D.C.

Administering the oath of office to the incoming president has, historically, been the role of the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in President-elect Donald Trump.

However, the incoming vice president may decide who will administer his oath of service, at the special Inaugural event. For instance, Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in by Justice John Paul Stevens in 2009 and Justice Sonia Sotomayor did the honors for Biden in 2013. Even senators and ranking House leaders have fulfilled the role.

franklin-graham-bgeaFranklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy Graham, is scheduled to pray at this Inaugural ceremony, as his father has at many prior Inaugural ceremonies, going back to Eisenhower. The Graham Evangelistic Association offers a free PDF copy of a prayer resource showing how to pray for our new president, new Congress, and local elected officials. “How to Pray for Our Leaders” is available as a free download, at their website.

Prayer across our nation during the entire Inauguration Day is important since the left-wing #DisruptJ20 activists have allegedly planned disruptive demonstrations and even threats of violence. One group was caught on undercover video planning Continue reading

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UPDATE on the January 15, 2017 “peace” conference in Paris:

Messiah’s Mandate’s Ron Cantor’s latest blog on the Paris conference offers the following summary and then explains how God answered prayer and why the conference “nosedived.”

On Sunday, representatives of 70 nations gathered in Paris to release a document condemning Israel for building in the areas captured in the Six-Day-War (including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City), calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to the “occupation.” There was deep concern from Israel-loving believers around the world, that the “kings of the earth” would “rage” (Ps. 2) in their anger at little Israel.

Read Ron’s full blog here.

Prior Post:___________________________________________________

Seventy nations are meeting in Paris this weekend for an ominous summit to gang up against the Jewish state of Israel. As one prophecy watcher has said, “No good thing will come out of this meeting!”

According to one print resource, a statement will be issued after the conference to demand (1) an end to the “occupation that began in 1967,” (2) a “dividing of the land” by recognition of Palestine as a state within the current land controlled by Israel since 1967, and (3) the renouncement of Israeli control of the Old City, as part of the eastern half of its historic capital of Jerusalem.

Inexplicably, this would include the historic Jewish Quarter, with its restored synagogues and the revered “Wailing Wall” in the Old City. This non-negotiated area would also include historic Jewish cemeteries on Mt. Zion and the Mount of Olives (which had been desecrated and damaged when Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank, from 1948-1967), as well as other historic excavations and millennia-old monuments.

The so-called “two-state solution” is without empirical evidence, since the Arab Muslims in these disputed territories have given no evidence they would ever respect a Jewish state. The PLO and Hamas Charters specifically reject such a possibility. They wanted Israelis driven into the Mediterranean Sea! Their murderous “intifadas” over the past decades have proven their religion-born hatred of the Jewish people.

During a public address at the Vatican in Rome, last Wednesday, in a speech about migration, Pope Francis affirmed that God promised the Holy Land to the people of Israel: Continue reading

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Let’s Clean-up our Language – in 2017!

health_20081215_happiness_bannerHave you noticed how our society has become ruder, cruder, and lewder—at almost every level? Have you been concerned by the negative effects a coarsened language has had on us, as well as our families and friends?

At the same time of the rise of these negative effects in our language, many positive aspects of our western civilization have diminished. Chivalry has disappeared. Civility has suffered. Character qualities have weakened. What is causing this social declination and dysfunction?

Cursing and swearing in public has, unfortunately, become common practice—with many women, as well as men; with girls as well as boys. There seem to be few “safe spaces” from the assault of foul language and free-floating rage. Crude “F-Bombs” are heard, with impunity and without apology, in all walks of life.

Dirty words” have had to be bleeped for decades on broadcast television—from the mouths of actors and athletes, as well as politicians and presidential candidates. Coarse and crude language seems to flow freely on cable television and in movies. It has been known to escape from the self-censorship of radio and television talk shows. Even little children have been heard to use crude terms and lewd expressions on playgrounds!

The Bible says …the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Our modern, profane reality reveals a problem with our inner selves, often fed by the increasingly lewd content found in our music, movies, and television shows. Unsurprisingly, swearing habits are often influenced by the gross and often grotesque content found in our favorite music. We learn the offensive words along with the music and, whether we would tend to ever use those words otherwise, they are embedded in our minds and souls and soon contaminate our thoughts and speech, as well.

Also, “social media” allows for nearly anonymous comments, texts, and attacks— globally. People don’t feel accountable for their own actions or words. Rather than declare and defend our thoughts or opinions with civil words and respect for the dignity and opinions of others, we lower ourselves to attack others with name calling or vile cursing.

The increase of anger in our modern society, which is often expressed in inappropriate words or actions, is another contributing factor. This has been observed in many ways in recent years, from the inexplicable popularity of Angry Birds (Bad Puppies, et. al.) phone apps and movies, to vile video exchanges by angry men and possibly angrier women, in the recent political campaigns.

In years past, the sensitive person would guard their coarser vocabulary and acknowledge verbal slip-ups in “polite society” and say, “Please pardon my language.” But, that is rarely heard now.

While the Golden Rule may call for us to “do to others, as you would have them do to you,” the “Gutless Rule” is to attack others first and overwhelm them with our intemperate words or insensitive actions. Helpful dialog disappears when we won’t talk with people, but rather try to talk over them, so their views cannot be heard or respected. Many radio and television “talk shows” are actually “shouting matches,” which stir up or perpetuate anger.

We can do better than this!

Even self-help experts can assist sincere candidates to change or even stop their swearing habits. Avoiding explicit lyrics and other swear-happy-medium may also help suppress anger and swearing outbursts.

But the Bible describes these traits and habits as more than mere human peccadilloes. The Apostle Paul says they are spiritual issues, “works of the flesh,” and warns believers to not allow themselves to be consumed by biting and devouring one another. The passage calls those who profess to belong to Christ to live and walk by the Spirit of God, displaying the “fruit of the Spirit.” The Apostle specifically told the Ephesian believers to eliminate filthiness and foolish talk, including “crude joking.” Ephesians 5:3-4 (ESV)

As we make our plans for a better year in 2017, let us all commit to eradicating “parasitic sins,” which so easily ensnares us, and “learn, as [we] go along, what pleases the Lord.”







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‘Twas the Night before Christmas

hanukkahMy wife and I have just returned from a Christmas Eve candle lighting service at our church. This was the first of two special services being held there this weekend. This year, Christmas is celebrated on Sunday and our church decided to hold a candle lighting service on Christmas Eve and replicate it on Christmas Day, itself. We attended tonight.

Now, on this Christmas Eve, I’m enjoying some cookies and hot chocolate and reflecting on fact that Christians around the world are preparing tonight to celebrate tomorrow the birth of Jesus, who is called the Christ. But, tonight also begins this year’s extended celebration of Chanukah (sometimes spelled Hanukkah), for our Jewish friends. For those who may be Messianic Jewish believers, the two concurrent celebrations might be a bit schizophrenic! Let me explain.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, whose Jewish and Gentile disciples worship as the prophesied Jewish Messiah. Jesus’ brief ministry on earth involved His going about preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out demons.

The Gospel of John  records (10:22) an occasion when Jesus was in the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem, during the “Feast of Dedication.” This is what is known today as the Jewish eight-day feast of Chanukah, which means “dedication.” It is the celebration of the great miracle, when only one day’s supply of sanctified oil for a Temple oil lamp lasted eight days, as the Jewish people prayed and rededicated their Temple, after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, the arrogant and evil Greek-Syrian ruler in 168 BCE, over 2,100 years ago.

It is interesting to note that neither Christmas nor Chanukah is a biblically mandated celebration. Rather, their origins became meaningful traditions of dedicated followers. They each draw our attention to something larger and greater than ourselves or the celebrations we keep.

Secondly, the historic background to each celebration involves a supernatural occurrence or miracle. Jesus of Nazareth was born miraculously by a virgin. Chanukah relates to the miraculous provision of sanctified oil for the Jewish temple’s rededication.

On this “night before Christmas,” I am drawn to see how these two celebrations point to each other. As I prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ-child and the forgiveness and salvation He brought mankind, perhaps I need to also see Hanukkah opportunities to make sure I am right with God in every area of my life and rededicate my “temple” to Him. How about you?

Merry Hanukkah!

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Remembering Ronald Reagan this Christmas!

I live in Southern California and have twice visited The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs this month!

The beautiful, hilltop facility near Simi Valley is the final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, and his wife Nancy Reagan. With the opening of the 90,000-square-foot Air Force One Pavilion in October 2005, the Reagan Library reclaimed the title as the largest of all the presidential libraries, in terms of physical size.

My wife and I currently have an annual membership to the foundation, which supports the library and museum. Since it is due to expire at the end of this year and my wife especially enjoys the annual display of Christmas trees featured at the facility, we decided to visit on her birthday, earlier this month. Twenty-six trees are featured, each elaborately decorated to represent the climate and culture of the more than two dozen countries the Reagans visited, during his eight years in office.

We noted that the museum is currently featuring a special large-scale, hands-on exhibition, which we felt would be especially interesting to our 11-year-old grandson. So, this week, he and I ventured again to the Ventura County venue.

Titled Interactive! The Exhibition, the high-quality presentation examines “how popular culture in movies, books, TV, and the arts has influenced modern technology and changed the ways we live, work, move, connect and play.” My inquisitive fifth-grader enjoyed hands-on learning about “virtual reality, interactive robots, the driverless car, multiple gaming stations, remote control drones, 3D printing stations” and more!

But, the quintessential aspect of the Reagan Library is Ronald W. Reagan, himself. From the western-themed statuary to the White House stationery, Reagan’s persona and paraphernalia—including the ubiquitous jars of jelly beans—silently speak to each visitor. His classic quotations of biblical values and conservative conscience are found embossed on the walls and in the vibrant videos, as one thoughtfully wanders through the many exhibit areas of the museum and manicured landscapes.

Visiting the well-appointed facility at this Christmas season reminded me of the character and qualities of this man, whose life one would do well to emulate. His wise and articulate speeches, over many decades, revealed a depth of personal character, chivalry, civility, convictions, and Christian commitment. He was unapologetically pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedoms.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation recently sent out a Christmas greeting, with this excerpt from President Reagan’s humbly profound message to the nation, on December 24, 1981.

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts.

For more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year, whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love overcomes hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.

 This Christmas season, I’m remembering (and missing) the words, wisdom, and ways of President Ronald Reagan.

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Is Peace Possible in Palestine?

Mary's Boy Child

Mary’s Boy Child

At this Christmas season, followers of Jesus, who is known by many as the Jewish Messiah, are remembering His birth, over two thousand years ago.

The biblical record recounts that a humble carpenter named Joseph, from the village of Nazareth in Israel’s northern region of Galilee, had to go to be registered for Roman taxation, in the city of his fathers. He took Mary, his pregnant wife, with him to his distant family hometown in Judea. Bethlehem, the birthplace of the famous Jewish King David, was located in the hills, just south of Jerusalem. And there, “Mary’s Boy Child” was born.

All of these personalities and geographic references are important to that famous, historical account. This birth and those people and places were real. You and I can visit the land and locations where this story occurred. Carefully!

You see the land where the announcing angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill toward men,” is not a place of peace today for many men, women, and children. Innocent people have to be on the alert for terrorists, who may want to shoot or stab them or aim cars or throw rocks at them. “Goodwill” between Arabs and Jews is often rare and expensive.

Last week, tens of thousands of Arab Palestinians took to the streets of the Gaza Strip to mark the 29th anniversary of the founding of the violent, Islamist resistance movement, Hamas. As in previous years, the Palestinian rallies were held to reaffirm Hamas’ warrior strategy of continued jihad (Islamic holy war) and violent “armed resistance” until Israel has been defeated, destroyed, and displaced—from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Rather than progressing toward pragmatism and moderation, after nearly 3 decades of violence and misery for its people, another message emerged from the rallies: Hamas will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. Khalil Al-Haya, a senior Hamas official, explained, “We will not recognize Israel because it will inevitably go away. And we will not backtrack on the option of armed struggle until the liberation of all Palestine.”

Many Palestinians see the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and other unilateral gestures of “land for peace” as proof of weakness and capitulation, rather than positive signs testifying to Israel’s peaceful intentions. These “concessions for peace” by Israel further increases Palestinians’ appetite for launching armed attacks against Israel’s citizens. Today, many Palestinians are convinced that they can achieve more through stabbings, vehicular ramming and shooting attacks than sitting with Israel at the negotiating table. Many Arab Palestinians continue to believe that Continue reading

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