Full Text Political Transcripts February 4, 2017: President Trump’s Second Week of Action

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Trump’s Second Week of Action

Source: WH, 2-4-17

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SECOND WEEK OF ACTION

  • 7: Presidential Actions to Make America Great Again
  • 4: Diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders to promote an America First foreign policy.
  • 4: Meetings to get input from workers and business leaders on jumpstarting job creation.
  • 2: Events for the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
  • 2: Events to commemorate African American History Month
  • 2: Members of President Trump’s Cabinet sworn in.
  • 1: Bill signed into law
  • 1: Meeting with cyber security experts
  • 1: Commemoration of American Heart Month
  • 1: Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast
  • 1: Letter of Recognition for National Catholic Schools Week

Following Through On His Promise To The American People, President Trump Nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court

  • On Tuesday, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to become Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, filling the seat left behind by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The next day, President Trump met with various stakeholders to thank them for their input in making such an important decision.

President Trump Continued To Drain The Washington Swamp And Further Protect All Americans

PROTECTING AMERICANS: President Trump signed two executive memoranda to protect Americans and sanctioned the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism in Iran.

  • On Friday, the Trump administration sanctioned twenty-five individuals and entities that provide support to Iran’s ballistic missile program and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
  • Last Saturday, President Trump ordered a 30-day review and development of a new plan to defeat ISIS.
  • Last Saturday, to better get advice and information needed to ensure the safety and security of the American people, President Trump signed an executive order that modernized the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

DRAINING THE SWAMP: President Trump used the power of his office to promote government transparency, preventing lobbying influence, and limiting regulatory overreach.

  • Last Saturday, President Trump signed an executive order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees to limit the influence of lobbyists and Washington insiders.
  • On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order to reduce government regulations by requiring two existing regulations to be ended if a new one is approved.
  • On Tuesday, President Trump signed into law the “GAO Access And Oversight Act Of 2017” (H.R.72) allowing the Government Accountability Office to gather records from all federal agencies so it can be more responsive to civil action.

President Trump Continued To Put Jobs Front And Center Through Two Executive Actions And Holding Four Stakeholder Meetings With Labor And Business Leaders

FREEING UP THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM: President Trump made two Presidential actions to better enable the financial system to promote job creation and serve all Americans

  • On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order to regulate the financial system in a way that protects consumers while promoting economic growth and job creation.
  • On Friday, President Trump issued a memorandum to prevent the unintended consequences of financial fiduciary rules from limiting economic opportunity and American’s investments.

HEARING FROM STAKEHOLDERS: Throughout the week, President Trump met with labor and business leaders to get input on how best to jumpstart job creation for all Americans.

  • On Monday, President Trump met with small business owners to get input on how to spur job creation and help businesses like theirs succeed.
  • On Tuesday, President Trump met with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry to discuss how jobs can be brought back to America and reduce prices so all Americans can afford quality healthcare.
  • On Thursday, President Trump met with the executives of Harley-Davidson and union representatives to encourage American manufacturing.
  • On Friday, President Trump met with his economic advisory council to discuss ways to deliver jobs to all Americans.

To Start African American History Month, President Trump Honored The History Of The African American Community And Their Vast Contribution To American Society

  • On Wednesday, President Trump met with African American community leaders to honor their contribution and listen to their input on what can be done to improve the lives of all Americans.
  • The same day, President Trump signed a proclamation honoring February 2017 as Black History Month.

Despite Historic Democratic Obstructionism, President Trump Continued To Get His Cabinet Nominees Confirmed By Congress

  • On Tuesday, Elaine Chao was sworn in as President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation.
  • On Wednesday, Rex Tillerson was sworn in as President Trump’s Secretary of State.

President Trump Held Three Conversations With Foreign Leaders To Promote American Interests Around The Globe

  • On Sunday, President Trump spoke with King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on creating safe zones in Syria and Yemen to help refugees and strict enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran.
  • On Sunday, President Trump spoke with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan of the United Arab Emirates to reaffirm the strong partnership between both countries and combating radical Islamic terrorism.
  • On Sunday, President Trump spoke with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn of the Republic of Korea on the important of the their mutual alliance and defending against North Korea.
  • On Thursday, President Trump met with King Abdullah II of Jordan where he conveyed the U.S.’s commitment to Jordan’s stability and defeating ISIS.

To Further Protect America’s Cyber Security, President Trump Met With Experts

  • On Tuesday, President Trump held a listening session with cyber security experts to help fulfill his campaign promise of securing America against cyber threats.

President Trump Spoke At The National Prayer Breakfast

  • On Thursday, President Trump continued to champion repealing the Johnson Amendment to allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without retribution.

President Trump Commemorated American Heart Month

  • On Friday, President Trump proclaimed February 2017 as American Heart Month.

President Trump Recognized National Catholic Schools Week

  • On Friday, President Trump issued a letter recognizing National Catholic Schools week.

In Two Weeks Of Action, The President Has Been Relentless In This Effort To Make America Great Again

  • 21 Presidential Actions
  • 16 Meetings With Foreign Leaders
  • 10 Stakeholder Meetings
  • 6 Cabinet Members Sworn-In
  • 4 National Proclamations
  • 3 Agency Visits
  • 2 Speeches
  • 1 Legislation signed into law
  • 1 Supreme Court Nomination
  • 1 Manufacturing Initiative Launch
  • 1 Thank-You Reception
  • 1 Letter Of Recognition
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Full Text Obama Presidency February 6, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech at National Prayer Breakfast

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Praises Freedom of Religion at the National Prayer Breakfast

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the National Prayer BreakfastPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

This morning, the President, the First Lady, and the Vice President attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The annual event brings together legislators, officials, and clergy from all faiths and political ideologies….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast

Source: WH, 2-6-14 

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks at the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast
February 06, 2014 6:57 PM

President Obama Speaks at the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast

Washington Hilton
Washington, D.C.

9:11 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Please, everyone have a seat. Giving all praise and honor to God, who brought us here this morning.

Thank you so much for our two outstanding co-chairs, Louie and Jan.  And I have to say, I would have enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at the two of these folks getting this breakfast organized this morning.  (Laughter.)  But there does seem to be that sibling thing a little bit, Louie.  (Laughter.)  They love each other, but they’ve got to go at each other a little bit.  I, by the way, have always found Louie to be unbelievably gracious every time I’ve seen him.  Now, I don’t watch TV, I’ve got to admit.  (Laughter.)  But he is a good man and a great storyteller, and Janice was just reminding me the first time we saw each other was at one of my first events when I first ran for office.

It’s wonderful to see all of the dignitaries and friends who are here today.  To the Presidents, and Prime Ministers, the leaders of business and the nonprofit community; to my incredible friend and Vice President, Joe Biden; to my Cabinet members who are here and members of the administration who do such great work every single day; to my fellow Hawaiian, it is wonderful to see you.  I should tell you that my surfing is not that good.  (Laughter.)  I just want to be clear.  But my bodysurfing is pretty good.

SENATOR HIRONO:  Bodysurfing is fun.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It is.  (Laughter.)  And to Raj Shah, who is just such an incredible young leader and is out there every single day, I could not be more proud of his outstanding leadership at USAID.  And it’s a good reminder — (applause) — it’s a good reminder of the dedicated public servants that I have the chance to interact with every single day.  And they do great work, don’t always get a lot of credit, sometimes get subject to the sort of criticism that you do when you’re in public life, but Raj is single-minded in terms of trying to help as many people as possible all around the world and is an extraordinary representative for our country.  So I’m very, very proud of him — although he does always make me feel like an underachiever whenever I listen to him.  (Laughter.)  I’m thinking, I should have been working harder and not slouching.  (Laughter.)

Dale Jones and everyone else who worked on this breakfast this morning, thank you, and obviously I’m thrilled to be joined by my extraordinary wife and she does a great job every single day keeping me in line.  (Applause.)

Just two other thank-yous.  To our men and women in uniform all around the world, we pray for them.  (Applause.)  Many of them doing such great work to keep us safe.  And then there is one colleague of mine who is missing today.  A great friend of mine who I came into the Senate with, Senator Tom Coburn.  Tom is going through some tough times right now but I love him dearly even though we’re from different parties.  He’s a little closer to Louie’s political perspective than mine but he is a good man and I’m keeping him and his family in my prayers all the time.  So just a shout-out to my good friend, Tom Coburn.  (Applause.)

So each time we gather, it’s a chance to set aside the rush of our daily lives; to pause with humility before an Almighty God; to seek His grace; and, mindful of our own imperfections, to remember the admonition from the Book of Romans, which is especially fitting for those of us in Washington:  “Do not claim to be wiser than you are.”

So here we put aside labels of party and ideology, and recall what we are first:  all children of a loving God; brothers and sisters called to make His work our own.  But in this work, as Lincoln said, our concern should not be whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side.

And here we give thanks for His guidance in our own individual faith journeys.  In my life, He directed my path to Chicago and my work with churches who were intent on breaking the cycle of poverty in hard-hit communities there.  And I’m grateful not only because I was broke and the church fed me, but because it led to everything else.  It led me to embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  It led me to Michelle — the love of my life — and it blessed us with two extraordinary daughters.  It led me to public service.  And the longer I serve, especially in moments of trial or doubt, the more thankful I am of God’s guiding hand.

Now, here, as Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion.  And, yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too — because religion strengthens America.  Brave men and women of faith have challenged our conscience and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to civil rights, workers’ rights.

So many of you carry on this good work today — for the child who deserves a school worthy of his dreams; for the parents working overtime to pull themselves out of poverty; for the immigrants who want to step out of the shadows and become a full member of our American family; for the young girl who prays for rescue from the modern slavery of human trafficking, an outrage that we must all join together to end.

Through our Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, led by Melissa Rogers, we’re proud to work with you on this and many other issues.  And I invite you to join us in a new initiative that I announced in my State of the Union address — an effort to help more young men of color overcome the odds, because so many boys in this country need that mentor to help them become a man and a good father.

I’ve felt the love that faith can instill in our lives during my visits to the Holy Land and Jerusalem — sacred to Jews and Christians and Muslims.  I’ve felt it in houses of worship — whether paying my respects at the tomb of Archbishop Romero in San Salvador, or visiting a synagogue on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or a Buddhist temple in Bangkok.  And I’ve felt the compassion of so many faith leaders around the world, and I am especially looking forward to returning to the Vatican next month to meet His Holiness, Pope Francis, whose message about caring for the “least of these” is one that I hope all of us heed.  Like Matthew, he has answered the call of Jesus, who said “follow me,” and he inspires us with his words and deeds, his humility, his mercy and his missionary impulse to serve the cause of social justice.

Yet even as our faith sustains us, it’s also clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat.  And that is what I want to reflect on this morning.  We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful.  We sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, or how they pray or who they love.  Old tensions are stoked, fueling conflicts along religious lines, as we’ve seen in the Central African Republic recently, even though to harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with God.  Extremists succumb to an ignorant nihilism that shows they don’t understand the faiths they claim to profess — for the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will.

Today, we profess the principles we know to be true.  We believe that each of us is “wonderfully made” in the image of God.  We, therefore, believe in the inherent dignity of every human being — dignity that no earthly power can take away.  And central to that dignity is freedom of religion — the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear.

Our faith teaches us that in the face of suffering, we can’t stand idly by and that we must be that Good Samaritan.  In Isaiah, we’re told “to do right.  Seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.”  The Torah commands:  “Know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” The Koran instructs:  “Stand out firmly for justice.”   So history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people — including the freedom of religion — are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful.  Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism.  So freedom of religion matters to our national security.  (Applause.)

As I’ve said before, there are times when we work with governments that don’t always meet our highest standards, but they’re working with us on core interests such as the security of the American people.  At the same time, we also deeply believe that it’s in our interest, even with our partners, sometimes with our friends, to stand up for universal human rights.  So promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy.  And I’m proud that no nation on Earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States of America.  (Applause.)

It is not always comfortable to do, but it is right.  When I meet with Chinese leaders — and we do a lot of business with the Chinese, and that relationship is extraordinarily important not just to our two countries but to the world — but I stress that realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights, including for Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists, and Uighur Muslims.  (Applause.)

When I meet with the President of Burma, a country that is trying to emerge out of a long darkness into the light of a representative government, I’ve said that Burma’s return to the international community depends on respecting basic freedoms, including for Christians and Muslims.  I’ve pledged our support to the people of Nigeria, who deserve to worship in their churches and mosques in peace, free from terror.  I’ve put the weight of my office behind the efforts to protect the people of Sudan and South Sudan, including religious minorities.

As we support Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in direct talks, we’ve made clear that lasting peace will require freedom of worship and access to holy sites for all faiths.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Secretary Kerry for his extraordinary passion and principled diplomacy that he’s brought to the cause of peace in the Middle East.  Thank you, John.  (Applause.)

More broadly, I’ve made the case that no society can truly succeed unless it guarantees the rights of all its peoples, including religious minorities, whether they’re Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, or Baha’i in Iran, or Coptic Christians in Egypt.  And in Syria, it means ensuring a place for all people — Alawites and Sunni, Shia and Christian.

Going forward, we will keep standing for religious freedom around the world.  And that includes, by the way, opposing blasphemy and defamation of religion measures, which are promoted sometimes as an expression of religion, but, in fact, all too often can be used to suppress religious minorities.  (Applause.) We continue to stand for the rights of all people to practice their faiths in peace and in freedom.  And we will continue to stand against the ugly tide of anti-Semitism that rears it’s ugly head all too often.

I look forward to nominating our next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom to help lead these efforts.  And we’re moving ahead with our new strategy to partner more closely with religious leaders and faith communities as we carry out our foreign policy.  And I want to thank Shaun Casey, from the Wesley Theological Seminary, for leading this work at the State Department.  Shaun I think is here today and we want to thank him for the outstanding work that he’s doing.  (Applause.) Thank you, Shaun.  (Applause.)

So around the world we’re elevating our engagement with faith leaders and making it a regular part of our diplomacy.  And today, I invite you to join us in focusing on several pressing challenges.  Let’s do more together to advance human rights, including religious freedom.  Let’s do more to promote the development that Raj describes — from ending extreme poverty to saving lives, from HIV/AIDS to combating climate change so that we can preserve God’s incredible creation.  On all these issues, faith leaders and faith organizations here in the United States and around the world are incredible partners, and we’re grateful to them.

And in contrast to those who wield religion to divide us, let’s do more to nurture the dialogue between faiths that can break cycles of conflict and build true peace, including in the Holy Land.

And finally, as we build the future we seek, let us never forget those who are persecuted today, among them Americans of faith.  We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who’s been held in North Korea for 15 months, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.  His family wants him home.  And the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.  (Applause.)

We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini.  He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months, sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs.  And as we continue to work for his freedom, today, again, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho.  (Applause.)

And as we pray for all prisoners of conscience, whatever their faiths, wherever they’re held, let’s imagine what it must be like for them.  We may not know their names, but all around the world there are people who are waking up in cold cells, facing another day of confinement, another day of unspeakable treatment, simply because they are affirming God.  Despite all they’ve endured, despite all the awful punishments if caught, they will wait for that moment when the guards aren’t looking, and when they can close their eyes and bring their hands together and pray.

In those moments of peace, of grace, those moments when their faith is tested in ways that those of us who are more comfortable never experience; in those far-away cells, I believe their unbroken souls are made stronger.  And I hope that somehow they hear our prayers for them, that they know that, along with the spirit of God, they have our spirit with them as well, and that they are not alone.

Today we give humble thanks for the freedoms we cherish in this country.  And I join you in seeking God’s grace in all of our lives.  I pray that His wisdom will give us the capacity to do right and to seek justice, and defend the oppressed wherever they may dwell.

I want to thank all of you for the extraordinary privilege of being here this morning.  I want to ask you for your prayers as I continue in this awesome privilege and responsibility as President of the United States.  May God bless the United States of America, and God bless all those who seek peace and justice.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
9:51 A.M. EST

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 12, 2012: Mitt Romney Delivers Commencement Address At Christian & Conservative Liberty University — Woos Evangeligals with Speech on Faith, Family Values & Spirituality

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mitt Romney

(AP Photo)

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY GIVES COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT CHRISTIAN & CONSERVATIVE LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Romney Woos Evangelicals at Liberty University: Speaking at Liberty University, Mitt Romney sought to quell concerns among evangelical voters by offering a forceful defense of Christian values and faith in public life…. – NYT, 5-12-12

 

  • Romney seeks evangelical votes; opposes gay marriage: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sought on Saturday to calm fears that his Mormon faith would be an obstacle to evangelical Christian voters, stressing shared conservative values while…. – Reuters, 5-12-12
  • Mitt Romney courts evangelicals at Liberty University: Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion has been a problem for some evangelicals. At conservative Liberty University Saturday, Romney stressed Christian values without mentioning his own faith, part of an apparently successful effort to win over evangelicals and other social conservatives…. – CS Monitor, 5-12-12
  • Mitt Romney delivers deeply spiritual address, but avoids his Mormonism, at Liberty University: Making by far his most spiritual speech of his presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney on Saturday offered a fierce defense of Judeo-Christian values and an America that he said “has trusted in God, not man.”… – WaPo, 5-12-12
  • Wooing evangelicals, Romney evokes faith and Christian traditions: Seeking to connect with the community of evangelicals that has been cold to his candidacy for many months, Mitt Romney delivered a commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday that delved deeply into his faith … LAT, 5-12-12
  • Romney addreses gay marriage issue at Liberty Univ, saying ‘one man and one woman’: Mitt Romney delivered a commencement speech Saturday at Liberty University in which he focused largely on a message of faith, family, hard work and service, but he also addressed the emerging same-sex marriage issue by saying “marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
    The remark drew a loud applause for the likely GOP presidential candidate who faced a big test in trying to win over evangelical voters…. Fox News, 5-12-12
  • Romney reaches out to evangelicals in Liberty speech: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reached out to evangelicals in a commencement speech at Liberty University Saturday that focused largely on the importance of faith and spirituality…. – USA Today, 5-12-12
  • Romney Urges Grads to Honor Family Commitments: Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has shaped his life, but he barely mentioned it as he spoke to graduates at an evangelical university Saturday…. – ABC News, 5-12-12
  • Mormon Romney delivers commencement speech at Baptist university: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received applause from a crowd at Liberty University in Virginia when he stated that marriage should only be between a man and a woman…. – msnbc.com, 5-12-12
  • For Romney, speech at Christian college offers test: There are not many Mitt Romney fan clubs at Liberty University. The Lynchburg, Virginia, school, founded by the late television evangelist Jerry Falwell, is a bastion for conservative Christian thought…. – Reuters, 5-11-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Commencement Address At Liberty University

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 4-12-12

Location

Boston, MA

United States

Mitt Romney today delivered the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning.  The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full.  To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies.  One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms:  Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy.  The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A.  Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting.  So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates.  Those would be the parents.  Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement.  And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey:  The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches.  And let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have.

That’s a theme for another day. But two observations.  First, even though job opportunities are scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. Jerry Falwell, Senior, long ago observed that “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.”  America needs your skill and talent.  If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy that will surprise the world, and that will open new doors of opportunity for those who are prepared as you are.

Of course, what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined.  But I will say that things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

I consider it a great life honor to address you today.  Your generosity of spirit humbles me.  The welcoming spirit of Liberty is a tribute to the gracious Christian example of your founder.

In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark.  For nearly five decades he shared that walk with his good wife Macel.  It’s wonderful to see her today.  The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one.  Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary.  Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.

I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness.  Several years ago, in my home, my wife and I were posing for a picture together with him.  We wanted him to be in the center of the photo, but he insisted that Ann be in the middle, with he and I on the sides.  He explained, by pointing to me and himself, “You see, Christ died between two thieves.”

Maybe the most confident step Jerry ever took was to open the doors of this school 41 years ago.

He believed that Liberty might become one of the most respected Christian universities anywhere on earth.  And so it is today.

He believed, even when the first graduating class consisted of 13 students, that year after year young Christians would be drawn to such a university in ever-greater numbers.  And here you are.

Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe.  You know who you are.  And you know Whom you will serve.  Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here.  Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.

That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration.  In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ.  May that be your guide.

You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal.  Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter.  His conclusion:  Culture makes all the difference.  Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.

The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.

The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention.  For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%.  But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor.  Culture matters.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate.  So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage.  Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate.  It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with.  Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.

But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man.  Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution.  And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world.  But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.

Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations.  The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life.  We’re not alone in sensing this.  Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.

And, in the way of lessons learned, by hitting the mark or by falling short, I can tell you this much for sure.

All that you have heard here at Liberty University – about trusting in God and in His purpose for each of us–makes for more than a good sermon.  It makes for a good life.  So many things compete for our attention and devotion.  That doesn’t stop as you get older.  We are all prone, at various turns, to treat the trivial things as all-important, the all-important things as trivial, and little by little lose sight of the one thing that endures forever.

No person I have ever met, not even the most righteous or pure of heart, has gone without those times when faith recedes in the busy-ness of life.  It’s normal, and sometimes even the smallest glimpses of the Lord’s work in our lives can reawaken our hearts.  They bring us back to ourselves – and, better still, to something far greater than ourselves.

What we have, what we wish we had – ambitions fulfilled, ambitions disappointed … investments won, investments lost … elections won, elections lost – these things may occupy our attention, but they do not define us.  And each of them is subject to the vagaries and serendipities of life.  Our relationship with our Maker, however, depends on none of this.  It is entirely in our control, for He is always at the door, and knocks for us.  Our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God.  The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving the ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.

Many a preacher has advised the same, but few as memorably as Martin Luther King, Jr.  “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow.  But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family.

My Dad, George Romney, was a CEO, a governor, and a member of the President’s Cabinet.  My wife Ann asked him once, “What was your greatest accomplishment?”  Without a moment’s pause, he said, “Raising our four kids.”

Ann and I feel the same way about our family.  I have never once regretted missing a business opportunity so that I could be with my children and grandchildren.  Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them.

As C.S. Lewis is said to have remarked, “The home is the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Promotions often mark the high points in a career, and I hope I haven’t seen my last.  But sometimes the high points come in unexpected ways.  I was asked to help rescue the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I’m embarrassed now to recall that when this opportunity was first presented to me, I dismissed it out of hand.  I was busy, I was doing well, and, by the way, my lack of athletic prowess did not make the Olympics a logical step.  In fact, after I had accepted the position, my oldest son called me and said, “Dad, I’ve spoken to the brothers.  We saw the paper this morning.  We want you to know there’s not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section.”

The Olympics were not a logical choice, but it was one of the best and most fulfilling choices of my life.  Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious.

People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology.  Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.  The best case for this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God’s love into every life – people like the late Chuck Colson.

Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison.  He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably.  They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man.  His choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.

The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character.  It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen.  Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us.  How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.

In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service –the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all.  For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have.  All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom.

At this great Christian institution, you have all learned a thing or two about these gifts and the good purposes they can serve.  They are yours to have and yours to share.  Sometimes, your Liberty education will set you apart, and always it will help direct your path.  And as you now leave, and make for new places near and far, I hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind.

The ideals that brought you here … the wisdom you gained here … and the friends you found here – may these blessings be with you always, wherever you go.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Full Text February 2, 2012: President Obama’s Speech at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Barack Obama at National Prayer Breakfast (February 2, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 2012. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the event with the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast

Source: WH, 2-2-12

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (186MB) | mp3 (18MB)

This morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama gave a speech where he described how his faith as a Christian informs his thinking as a leader.

And he talked about the importance of our shared set of values as Americans:

We can’t leave our values at the door. If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel — the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action — sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance.

This is no different today for millions of Americans, and it’s certainly not for me.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at the National Prayer Breakfast

Washington Hilton
Washington, D.C.

9:10 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Please, please, everybody have a seat.  Well, good morning, everybody.  It is good to be with so many friends united in prayer.  And I begin by giving all praise and honor to God for bringing us together here today.

I want to thank our co-chairs Mark and Jeff; to my dear friend, the guy who always has my back, Vice President Biden.  (Applause.)  All the members of Congress –- Joe deserves a hand –- all the members of Congress and my Cabinet who are here today; all the distinguished guests who’ve traveled a long way to be part of this.  I’m not going to be as funny as Eric — (laughter) — but I’m grateful that he shared his message with us.  Michelle and I feel truly blessed to be here.

This is my third year coming to this prayer breakfast as President.  As Jeff mentioned, before that, I came as senator.  I have to say, it’s easier coming as President.  (Laughter.)  I don’t have to get here quite as early.  But it’s always been an opportunity that I’ve cherished.  And it’s a chance to step back for a moment, for us to come together as brothers and sisters and seek God’s face together.  At a time when it’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and clamor of our own lives, or get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today, these moments of prayer slow us down.  They humble us.  They remind us that no matter how much responsibility we have, how fancy our titles, how much power we think we hold, we are imperfect vessels.  We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him.  Avoiding phony religiosity, listening to Him.

This is especially important right now, when we’re facing some big challenges as a nation.  Our economy is making progress as we recover from the worst crisis in three generations, but far too many families are still struggling to find work or make the mortgage, pay for college, or, in some cases, even buy food.  Our men and women in uniform have made us safer and more secure, and we were eternally grateful to them, but war and suffering and hardship still remain in too many corners of the globe.  And a lot of those men and women who we celebrate on Veterans Day and Memorial Day come back and find that, when it comes to finding a job or getting the kind of care that they need, we’re not always there the way we need to be.

It’s absolutely true that meeting these challenges requires sound decision-making, requires smart policies.  We know that part of living in a pluralistic society means that our personal religious beliefs alone can’t dictate our response to every challenge we face.

But in my moments of prayer, I’m reminded that faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems, in keeping us going when we suffer setbacks, and opening our minds and our hearts to the needs of others.

We can’t leave our values at the door.  If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union.  Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel — the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action — sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance.

This is no different today for millions of Americans, and it’s certainly not for me.

I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion.  And from time to time, friends of mine, some of who are here today, friends like Joel Hunter or T.D. Jakes, will come by the Oval Office or they’ll call on the phone or they’ll send me a email, and we’ll pray together, and they’ll pray for me and my family, and for our country.

But I don’t stop there.  I’d be remiss if I stopped there; if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends.  So instead, I must try — imperfectly, but I must try — to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.

And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody.  But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs -– from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato.

And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone.  And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.

But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”  It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.

When I talk about giving every American a fair shot at opportunity, it’s because I believe that when a young person can afford a college education, or someone who’s been unemployed suddenly has a chance to retrain for a job and regain that sense of dignity and pride, and contributing to the community as well as supporting their families — that helps us all prosper.

It means maybe that research lab on the cusp of a lifesaving discovery, or the company looking for skilled workers is going to do a little bit better, and we’ll all do better as a consequence.  It makes economic sense.  But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper; that as a country, we rise and fall together.  I’m not an island.  I’m not alone in my success.  I succeed because others succeed with me.

And when I decide to stand up for foreign aid, or prevent atrocities in places like Uganda, or take on issues like human trafficking, it’s not just about strengthening alliances, or promoting democratic values, or projecting American leadership around the world, although it does all those things and it will make us safer and more secure.  It’s also about the biblical call to care for the least of these –- for the poor; for those at the margins of our society.

To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”  And for others, it may reflect the Jewish belief that the highest form of charity is to do our part to help others stand on their own.

Treating others as you want to be treated.  Requiring much from those who have been given so much.  Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.  Caring for the poor and those in need.  These values are old.  They can be found in many denominations and many faiths, among many believers and among many non-believers.  And they are values that have always made this country great — when we live up to them; when we don’t just give lip service to them; when we don’t just talk about them one day a year.  And they’re the ones that have defined my own faith journey.

And today, with as many challenges as we face, these are the values I believe we’re going to have to return to in the hopes that God will buttress our efforts.

Now, we can earnestly seek to see these values lived out in our politics and our policies, and we can earnestly disagree on the best way to achieve these values.  In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Christianity has not, and does not profess to have a detailed political program.  It is meant for all men at all times, and the particular program which suited one place or time would not suit another.”

Our goal should not be to declare our policies as biblical.  It is God who is infallible, not us.  Michelle reminds me of this often.  (Laughter.)  So instead, it is our hope that people of goodwill can pursue their values and common ground and the common good as best they know how, with respect for each other.  And I have to say that sometimes we talk about respect, but we don’t act with respect towards each other during the course of these debates.

But each and every day, for many in this room, the biblical injunctions are not just words, they are also deeds.  Every single day, in different ways, so many of you are living out your faith in service to others.

Just last month, it was inspiring to see thousands of young Christians filling the Georgia Dome at the Passion Conference, to worship the God who sets the captives free and work to end modern slavery.  Since we’ve expanded and strengthened the White House faith-based initiative, we’ve partnered with Catholic Charities to help Americans who are struggling with poverty; worked with organizations like World Vision and American Jewish World Service and Islamic Relief to bring hope to those suffering around the world.

Colleges across the country have answered our Interfaith Campus Challenge, and students are joined together across religious lines in service to others.  From promoting responsible fatherhood to strengthening adoption, from helping people find jobs to serving our veterans, we’re linking arms with faith-based groups all across the country.

I think we all understand that these values cannot truly find voice in our politics and our policies unless they find a place in our hearts.  The Bible teaches us to “be doers of the word and not merely hearers.”  We’re required to have a living, breathing, active faith in our own lives.  And each of us is called on to give something of ourselves for the betterment of others — and to live the truth of our faith not just with words, but with deeds.

So even as we join the great debates of our age — how we best put people back to work, how we ensure opportunity for every child, the role of government in protecting this extraordinary planet that God has made for us, how we lessen the occasions of war — even as we debate these great issues, we must be reminded of the difference that we can make each day in our small interactions, in our personal lives.

As a loving husband, or a supportive parent, or a good neighbor, or a helpful colleague — in each of these roles, we help bring His kingdom to Earth.  And as important as government policy may be in shaping our world, we are reminded that it’s the cumulative acts of kindness and courage and charity and love, it’s the respect we show each other and the generosity that we share with each other that in our everyday lives will somehow sustain us during these challenging times.  John tells us that, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

Mark read a letter from Billy Graham, and it took me back to one of the great honors of my life, which was visiting Reverend Graham at his mountaintop retreat in North Carolina, when I was on vacation with my family at a hotel not far away.

And I can still remember winding up the path up a mountain to his home.  Ninety-one years old at the time, facing various health challenges, he welcomed me as he would welcome a family member or a close friend.  This man who had prayed great prayers that inspired a nation, this man who seemed larger than life, greeted me and was as kind and as gentle as could be.

And we had a wonderful conversation.  Before I left, Reverend Graham started praying for me, as he had prayed for so many Presidents before me.  And when he finished praying, I felt the urge to pray for him.  I didn’t really know what to say.  What do you pray for when it comes to the man who has prayed for so many?  But like that verse in Romans, the Holy Spirit interceded when I didn’t know quite what to say.

And so I prayed — briefly, but I prayed from the heart.  I don’t have the intellectual capacity or the lung capacity of some of my great preacher friends here that have prayed for a long time.  (Laughter.)  But I prayed.  And we ended with an embrace and a warm goodbye.

And I thought about that moment all the way down the mountain, and I’ve thought about it in the many days since.  Because I thought about my own spiritual journey –- growing up in a household that wasn’t particularly religious; going through my own period of doubt and confusion; finding Christ when I wasn’t even looking for him so many years ago; possessing so many shortcomings that have been overcome by the simple grace of God.  And the fact that I would ever be on top of a mountain, saying a prayer for Billy Graham –- a man whose faith had changed the world and that had sustained him through triumphs and tragedies, and movements and milestones –- that simple fact humbled me to my core.

I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment — asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong.  I know that He will guide us.  He always has, and He always will.  And I pray his richest blessings on each of you in the days ahead.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
9:30 A.M. EST

History Buzz December 9, 2011: George C. Rable: On Civil War’s 150th anniversary, historian reflects on religion’s role

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

HISTORY BOOK NEWS — Sesquicentennial Update: Civil War at 150

George C. Rable: On Civil War’s 150th anniversary, historian reflects on religion’s role

Source: Catholic News Agency, 12-9-11

Religion had a “pervasive” role in American life at the time of the United States’ Civil War, one historian says, explaining his “fascinating” discoveries about the roles Catholics played.

“One of the things that surprised me was that there were certain dominant ideas, regardless of particular religious affiliation. Ideas about providence, ideas about sin, ideas about judgment. Those were common themes that crossed religious traditions,” George C. Rable, a history professor at the University of Alabama, told CNA on Dec. 7.

“Religion was absolutely pervasive when Americans tried to explain the causes, and the course, and the consequences of the Civil War.”

The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865.

The conflict remains a central event in American history. It preserved the union of the states and emancipated the slaves, both actions which Christians saw at the time as providential.

Differences about slavery and whether it was a divinely inspired institution helped divide the Protestant churches before and during the war. Some contemporary Catholic observers saw these divisions as a religious fault.

Prof. Rable, author of the 2010 book “God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War” (Univ. of North Carolina Press, $35), read many northern Catholic newspapers from the period for his research.

“One argument that they make is that essentially Protestantism caused the war. You might say that that is a peculiar idea, but their point was that Protestants are inherently divisive and schismatic. Had the nation been entirely Catholic, they said, the nation would never have divided.”…READ MORE

History Q&A: Was the First Thanksgiving a religious celebration?

HISTORY Q&A

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/hist_q-a.jpg

History Q&A: Was the First Thanksgiving a religious celebration?

If you want to prepare for Thanksgiving like a real Pilgrim this year, here’s what you should do: Cancel the plane reservations. Stop jotting down recipes. Leave the libations alone.

For the Pilgrims and Puritans, “thanksgiving” days were spontaneous and sober affairs.

When friends arrived from overseas, European Protestants defeated Catholics in battle, or a bumper crop was reaped, the Pilgrims dedicated a day to thanking divine Providence.

They would have considered it presumptuous to schedule a thanksgiving day in advance, said Francis Bremer, an emeritus professor of history at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. “It assumes that God is going to be good to you each particular year.”

The Pilgrims’ days of thanksgiving were usually spent in church, singing psalms, listening to sermons and praying. Work and playful pastimes were forbidden. When God provided, the Pilgrims were serious about gratitude.

Despite their reputation as buckle-belted killjoys, the Puritans and Pilgrims knew how to have a good time. They brewed beer, feasted on fowl and enjoyed sex — all in moderation, of course.

That’s why some historians believe the 1621 celebration that’s sometimes dubbed the “First Thanksgiving,” was not actually a “thanksgiving” day at all. In fact, some historians even call it a “secular event.”

“The 1621 gathering in Plymouth was not a religious gathering but most likely a harvest celebration much like those the English had known in farming communities back home,” write Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac in their book, “1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving.”….

The problem with defining the original 1621 celebration — besides the dearth of historical evidence — is the absence of a full-time minister among the Pilgrims, said Bremer. Religious rituals were not as formal as they would become when a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived nearly a decade later.

In other words, the Pilgrims were winging it in 1621: Glad to be alive after a dangerous voyage, happy for a good harvest and excited about their future in a fresh, new land.

Nancy Caciola: She’s Got the Devil by the Archives

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: San Diego News, 5-20-11

Nancy Caciola

Photo by Sam Hodgson

University of California, San Diego history professor Nancy Caciola is a leading specialist in the study of spiritual possession.

University of California, San Diego history professor Nancy Caciola spends her days studying the fine line between godly saints and demonic sinners. She’s interested in how the people of the Middle Ages figured out which was which — or witch.

Caciola, a leading specialist in the study of possession, is intrigued by those who obsessed over their strange-acting neighbors. Were they in the throes of religious ecstasy? Willing followers of Satan? Or maybe the devil had taken their innocent souls hostage. If that was the case — oh dear — then what?

In an interview this week, Caciola talked about witchcraft, women and one heck of a suffering saint.

You teach a class about witchcraft and the church’s battle to kill off witches. What do you talk about?

There’s a huge amount of disagreement. There are those who say there was a frame-up, a fantasy that scapegoated women and has no relation to what women might have been doing. Others say a pagan cult survived underground and was demonized by the Catholic church. And then there are those who say there really were demon-worshipping women who literally went to the crossroads and tried to call up the devil….READ MORE

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