Canadian National Prayer Breakfast

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 06/15/13 under Blog

canadianmountiesvsatomicinvaders2osTo see my recent speech at the Canadian National Prayer Breakfast in Ottawa, click here! I reference William Shatner, Rich Little, and the phrase “Hey, Hoser!” in the first few minutes of my presentation. A good time was had by all. The speech begins about 25 mins into the video…  Hope you enjoy it, eh?

And after Ottawa I flew over to Toronto and shot three episodes of 100 Huntley Street to talk about my 7Men book, revealing that the real “Secret of their Greatness” was their common Canadian heritage. Click here for Part Un! Click here for Part Deux! And here’s Part Trois! But before that, I shot this episode, in which I spoke about my time at the Canadian National Prayer Breakfast…

CPAC 2013 Speech on Religious Freedom

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 03/16/13 under Essays

Eric Metaxas CPAC Speech on Religious Freedom. 10 A.M. March 16, 2013.

TEXT:  Good morning.  I’m here today because a year ago I was the speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast.  If you haven’t seen that speech, you can watch it at my website www.ericmetaxas.com.  And if you go to www.ericmetaxas.com by noon and follow me on Twitter, you get a free Wacko Birds t-shirt!

But seriously, if you watch my speech you’ll see that at the end I led the audience in singing “Amazing Grace.” I won’t do that now, but I would like to lead you in LIP-syncing the National Anthem. OK, I probably need to get serious for a moment or two.

Some of you know I wrote a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and it’s because of Bonhoeffer that I find myself thinking about the issue of Religious Freedom. Many people have said they see disturbing parallels between what was happening in Germany in the Thirties and America today on that issue. I’m very sorry to agree.

Let me begin with my hometown, Danbury, CT.  Some of you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the  Danbury Baptists in 1801, in which he uses the phrase “separation of church and state” — and in case there is anyone who doesn’t know it, the sense in which Jefferson uses that phrase is actually the opposite of how it’s generally thought of today. Today we often hear that it means that the state needs to be protected from religion, and that religion should have no place in government or society.

Jefferson and the Founders thought the opposite.  They knew that the State was always tempted to take over everything — including the religious side of people’s lives. So they put a protection in the Constitution that the government could not favor any religion over another… and could not prohibit the free exercise of religion.

They wanted churches and religions to be protected from the government — from Leviathan. Why?  Because they knew that what people believed and their freedom to live out and practice one’s most deeply held beliefs was at the very heart of this radical and fragile experiment they had just launched into the world.

Okay, so where are the threats to Religious Freedom in America today? Well, for one thing, understand we are not talking about Freedom of Worship. In a speech 18 months ago, Hillary Clinton replaced the phrase Freedom of Religion with Freedom of Worship — and my hero and friend Chuck Colson noticed and was disturbed by it.  Why? Because these are radically different things. They have Freedom of Worship in China. But what exactly is Freedom of Worship?

In my book Bonhoeffer I talk about a meeting between Bonhoeffer’s friend, the Rev. Martin Niemoller, who early on in the Third Reich was one of those fooled by Hitler.  And in that meeting he says something to Hitler about how he, Niemoller, cares about Germany and Third Reich — and Hitler cuts him off and says “I built the Third Reich. You just worry about your sermons!”

There in a few words you have the idea of Freedom of Worship.  Freedom of Worship says you can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state! We will tell you what to think on the big and important questions. Questions like when life begins and who gets to decide when to end it and what marriage is…  And if you don’t like it, tough luck! That’s Freedom of Worship and that have that in China and they had it in Germany in Bonhoeffer’s day…

But the Founding Fathers said just the opposite! They said the faith inside that church building must live on and flourish outside that building. In fact, the Founders believed the success of the American Experiment depends on it! In Os Guinness’s book — A FREE PEOPLE’S SUICIDE – he reminds us that the Founders believed Freedom of Religion was at the heart of the American Experiment.

In that book he talks about the Golden Triangle of Freedom — I’ll bet you never heard about that in school or in college. He explains that the Founders knew that Freedom and Self-Government were not possible without Virtue. Without virtue, we would simply vote to line our own pockets and elect those leaders who would line our pockets. Sound familiar? But they believed that Freedom required Virtue and Virtue in turn required Faith. It was mainly Faith that motivated citizens toward Virtue.  So Freedom required Virtue and Virtue required Faith — but Faith in turn required Freedom.  Faith requires Freedom. The whole triangle falls apart if you take away any of those three things. They support each other.  Please read A FREE PEOPLE’S SUICIDE.

Chuck Colson saw some serious threats to Religious Freedom on the horizon and in 2009 he led the way in drafting the Manhattan Declaration. And please visit ManhattanDeclaration.org and sign that. Because already those distant threats are coming to pass.

First of all there is the HHS Mandate. Many people have dismissed this as something to do with contraceptives. But it has nothing to do with contraceptives and everything to do with Religious Freedom.

It’s the issue of the government saying to a religious group that whatever you think about these issues means nothing! We are the state and we will force you to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients.  We will force you to violate your conscience and your religion — why? Because we can. We have the power and you Catholics are just a backward religious minority.

You may know that Josef Stalin in a battle with the Catholic Church once asked: “How many divisions does the Pope have?” It’s an ugly moment in American history when the current Presidential administration is taking a page out of the book of Josef Stalin .

When the government bullies a minority, instead of protecting that minority, that is the beginning of the end of America. We protect minorities here. So I, as a non-Catholic who doesn’t share that entire view on contraception, am nonetheless obliged as an American to defend those who have those views! That’s what makes us America. We protect minorities and we protect religious freedom. For all. Once we stop doing that we are no longer America.

The second issue of Religious Freedom is the attempt to legally redefine marriage. This has been framed as an issue of expanding a supposed right to marry whomever one chooses, which it is not. It’s about Religious Freedom.  So here’s my question to all the legal scholars across America…

What about the Religious Freedom of those who dissent on that issue?  Will they be forced to stifle their religious feelings on this issue because the state has demanded it? This is not a live and let live issue. If it were, that would be another story. No, if marriage is LEGALLY redefined, it will utterly cripple Religious Freedom in America and it’s already beginning to do that — and NO ONE is even talking about it. Not one of the cable networks ever discusses this.

And so what we are seeing on both these issues is the unconstitutional Establishment of a religion, aided and abetted by the state.  But it’s a secular religion and a secular orthodoxy. Indeed, it’s a secular fundamentalism — and it says on the subject of marriage there is to be no discussion. The science is settled.  It’s the future. And some in the GOP are jumping on the bandwagon. But ladies and gentlemen, whenever someone tells you the science is settled and the debate is over, that’s a sure sign that the debate is NOT OVER, but that they are deathly afraid that the debate might begin.

So they want to tell you it’s settled and let’s hurry up and get on the right side of history.  But God determines who is on the right side of history, not the mainstream media and not the government.

Most of you see the growing state, gobbling up more and more of the free market, and freedom itself. And if Religious Freedom is threatened, it is just the same.  These are the twin engines that have made this the greatest country in the history of the world.

Finally, let me say that when the government kills Freedom of Religion and faith is pushed out of the public square, it’s not just bad things that happen. It’s that many good things don’t happen.

In my book Amazing Grace I tell the story of William Wilberforce. It’s the story of what happens when a man drags religion into the public square and when he allows it to affect how government behaves.  As a result, the governmment was forced to abolish the slave trade. Don’t you think the African slaves were glad Wilberforce allowed his religion to affect his politics?

In those days the settled science was that slavery and the slave trade were just the way it was and to even discuss abolishing them was insane.  But devout Christians who believed every human being is made in the image of God forced the discussion.

The story of Bonhoeffer shows that it was many serious Christians who led the conspiracy against Hitler. The settled science was that the Third Reich was the future and any dissenting voices were simply silenced. But the voices of faith were not easily silenced.

Indeed, even Bonhoeffer, though murdered by the Nazis, speaks today. He is speaking to us — to America — and warning us not to let ourselves be silenced. He called the church to be the church and he is doing so now, to the American church. Stand up for what is right, knowing that the whole country will be blessed.

But what about America?  When has faith entered the public square in this country? Did you know that it was serious Christians who started the abolitionist movement in this country?  Yes! Just watch Steven Spielberg’s movie Amistad.

Did you know that devout Christians led the Civil Rights movement in this country? Some would have you think it was secular liberals who led it, but it was a church-based faith-based movement from beginning to end.  Did you know that Rosa Parks was a devout Christian? That she was chosen to kickoff the bus boycott because of her faith?
Did you know that Jackie Robinson was a serious Christian? And that Branch Rickey who picked him to be the one to break the color barrier in baseball did so because of Robinson’s faith, and that Rickey was himself a bible-thumping Christian who did what he did in part because he believe God wanted him to do it? There’s a movie coming out about Jackie Robinson this month and I’ll bet they don’t even mention that. I do mention it in my next book SEVEN MEN, because everyone should know that it was Jackie Robinson’s faith that was behind what he did.

If you push the voices of faith out of the mainstream and replace them with a secular orthodoxy, you take away the most important check the Founders put in place against unbridled statism.

My friends… here’s the story.  We’ve had so much religious Freedom in this country that we are hardly aware of what it is and we hardly recognize when it is being threatened. So let me be one voice warning my fellow Americans that unless we take this seriously, it will soon be too late and we WON’T be able to do anything about it. Please take this seriously.  Please read Os Guinness’ book A FREE PEOPLE SUICIDE and please visit ManhattanDeclaration.org and fight for your country.  This — my fellow Americans — is about America.

God bless you and God bless America!

END

Here’s the video of Os Guinness at SITC!

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 09/17/12 under Blog

Image 29If you care about America, Os Guinness’s talk at Socrates in the City last week was profoundly important.  Please click here to watch the video! SITC is thrilled to offer it to the general public at no cost for a limited time.  Please share it as widely as you like!  And please do get a copy of Os’s book, “A Free People’s Suicide:  Sustainable Freedom and the American Future.”  Finally, for my Breakpoint commentaries on the book, click here.

2012 National Prayer Breakfast

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 02/02/12 under Blog

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Today I spoke at the Nat’l Prayer Breakfast in Washington.  During my speech I gave the President a copy of my Bonhoeffer book…  Here’s the article from WORLD. Here’s one from The Baptist Press. Here’s the Catholic News Agency.  And here’s National Review.

Emily02021FOR THE VIDEO, CLICK HERE!!!

My talk begins 35 mins in and ends with me leading the 3,500 assembled in singing “Amazing Grace”.  No kidding.

Guess who snapped this photo below?  None other than VP Joseph P. Biden, who of his own accord very graciously offered to take it for me!  Amazing.  I wonder how many photos there are of U.S. President’s taken by U. S. Vice Presidents?

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2012 National Prayer Breakfast

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Published by Rick Vlaha on 02/02/12 under Media Video
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Today I spoke at the Nat’l Prayer Breakfast in Washington.  During my speech I gave the President a copy of my Bonhoeffer book.

Cross Promotion Jumps the Shark!

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 07/04/11 under Blog

Eric Metaxas_3_2The morning after the Superbowl 2011, I had the honor of spending an hour talking with former President George W. Bush.  He and the First Lady have read Bonhoeffer and now I’m reading his book.

George W. Bush is reading Bonhoeffer!

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 09/26/10 under Blog

alg_smile_george-bushIn remarks yesterday, Laura Bush said George W. Bush was reading my biography of Bonhoeffer!  To see The Hill Blog, click here! For today’s Politico article, click here! For the C-Span video, click here! Her comment comes at the 25-min mark.  And here’s the Washington Post mention!

Will the GOP Sell Its Soul to the Devil?

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 07/30/10 under Blog

StoneColdSkullBeerA menacing, muscled man strides into the ring, wearing a black t-shirt.  On the back in large white letters it reads:  DRINK BEER.  On the front:   F&CK FEAR.  The letter “U” is a skull, but looks so much like a “U” that you hardly notice.  The man in the shirt is the hero to millions of kids.  His name is Steve Austin.  (TO KEEP READING, CLICK HERE.)

Will the GOP Sell its Soul to the Devil?

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 07/30/10 under Essays Writing

Will the GOP Sell its Soul to the Devil?

A menacing, muscled man strides into the ring, wearing a black t-shirt.  On the back in large white letters it reads:  DRINK BEER.  On the front:   F&CK FEAR.  The letter “U” is a skull, but looks so much like a “U” that you hardly notice.  The man in the shirt is the hero to millions of kids.  His name is Steve Austin.

Fans hold up signs in the auditorium that say “Austin 3:16.”  Get the reference?  At NFL games, you’ll often see a sign in the crowd that say “John 3:16″, which refers to one of the holiest verses in the Bible:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him would not perish, but have life everlasting.”   “Austin 3:16″ is a deliberate mocking of that verse.StoneColdSkullBeer

This man is bad and that’s what his young fans love about him.  This is a dark world where he’s the hero.  There are no good guys here.  Good guys are sissies.  Even the women in this world are macho — loud and brassy and vulgar and mean — and of course they’re as sexually attired as the medium will allow.

mcmannWelcome to the brave new world of Linda McMahon’s WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) empire.  She and her steroidally-inflated husband Vince have taken an essentially harmless small-time business — inherited from Vince’s father in 1980 — and have turned it into something infinitely more violent, darker, edgier, and much more sexual.  It is now an international business worth billions.

35If you think of the WWE as harmless entertainment, you probably haven’t seen it much lately.  You probably have an education and a job.  Perhaps it makes you think of Hulk Hogan or Jesse “The Body” Ventura — or maybe even of Chief Jay Strongbow, Killer Kowalski, and Ivan “Polish Power” Putzki.  But that innocent world was a child’s nursery rhyme compared to the sexualized evil of the WWE today.   Most of the vulgarity and vileness cannot be described here, but a visit to youtube can give you some idea of how depraved it’s gotten.   Make sure you hide the kids; and yet the McMahon’s have aimed their poison at kids deliberately, knowing the future profits that are at stake.

Anyone who longs for a Frank Capra-style, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington America filled with goodness and Judeo-Christian values should understand that the McMahons are your bitterest enemies.  They are to American family values what the Gulf Oil Spill is to the Louisiana shellfish industry.  Compared to Linda and Vince McMahon, Hugh Hefner is a gentleman and Jerry Springer is a Mickey Mouse huckster.  And the McMahon’s have been so wildly successful at corrupting American youth that they are currently worth half a billion dollars.vince-mcmahon1_45483

But what do the McMahons plan to do with the wealth they have made corrupting our kids and grandkids?

How about buying a U.S. Senate seat?

That is precisely what is happening.   If you live in Connecticut, you know this is no joke.  But in case you missed it, read Rich Lowry’s column from a few weeks ago here… Or Ann Coulter’s column here…

But could Connecticut Republicans ever accept someone like Linda McMahon as their representative in the Senate?   Surely the party of conservative family values would never countenance such a thing!

Unless the GOP was so extremely hungry to score a win — maybe even to win the Senate back — that they were willing to look the other way.   Unless they were absolutely desperate…

Flash back to Europe in the early 1930s.   The German economy was in free fall.  People were jobless and starving and the shame and humiliation of Germany’s loss in World War One was unbearable.  Germans had never been more desperate to turn things around.

So when a vulgar Austrian rabble-rouser offered them an opportunity to get back on top — to get back at their enemies and to be proud again — it was difficult to turn down.  They had no idea of what he really stood for, and it was difficult for them to care very much, since they so badly wanted to succeed again.  But if Hitler could pull them out of their current straits, they would overlook his character flaws.  After all, once they were back on top they could always get rid of him.hitlerDM_468x422

People who sell their souls to the devil never realize what they are doing at the time.  But one man did see.  His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer was a pastor who stood up to Hitler and who was murdered by the Nazis in 1945.  He saw what Germany was up against.  And he knew that there was nothing more dangerous and more tempting than success.  If you offered people success when they were desperate, as Hitler had done, it would be very difficult to persuade them to take a noble stand for what was right.  Success was addictive.  Bonhoeffer tried desperately to warn the German people against Hitler.  In many ways he was a prophetic voice, trying to get Germans to see that they were marching toward a cliff and that their ultimate end would be far worse than they could have imagined.51qMfyUeZBL._SS500_

Needless to say, Bonhoeffer did not succeed, and Germany is still paying the price, eight decades later.  But can Bonhoeffer’s warning be a warning to us in America today?

Will Americans learn from the lessons of the past?  Let’s face it:  the desperation of the GOP to win a Senate seat in Connecticut is shocking and ugly.   No one who cares about America should let it stand.  Certainly no self-proclaimed conservative should stand for it, and certainly no one who dares call himself a Christian should stand for it.  Now is the time to speak up.

But as of today, most Connecticut voters have no idea of what’s really going on.   That’s because Connecticut’s cynical GOP leaders love McMahon’s money and her willingness to spend it.  And they love the fact that she can win.   The key is to keep Connecticut voters in the dark about  who she really is and what she represents.   So far they’ve been successful — and the primary is on August 9th.  Very few people even know that Rob Simmons is on the ballot against McMahon, and that they can vote for him and avoid unmitigated disaster.

Here’s the bottom line:  the August 9th primary in Connecticut is nothing less than a referendum on the soul of the Republican Party.   If the GOP will elect someone as self-servingly immoral as Linda McMahon in order to win, they will pay bitterly and dearly in the years ahead.  They will deserve what they get and they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Just as Germans regret the terrible Faustian bargain they in 1933, the GOP of 2010 will, too.  If we believe this is the way to win, we will lose everything.  May God help us to make the right decision.

END
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Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times best-seller Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy — A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich.   For more information, visit www.ericmetaxas.com.

Jesus Nearly Banned from Obama WH Xmas!

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Published by Eric Metaxas on 12/06/09 under Blog

WhiteHouse/Desiree RogersReading the NYTimes Style Section yesterday morning (yep, I’m straight) I almost spit out my proverbial cornflakes to read an article about President Obama’s embattled social secretary Desiree Rogers…  For the full story now at foxnews.com, click here! Please leave a comment.