Illinois Family Institute celebrates 20 years with Wallbuilders’ David Barton (First published at Illinois Review – Photos added by Illinois Review)
September 16, 2012
Illinois Family Institute celebrates 20 years with Wallbuilders’ David Barton
By Nancy Thorner -
HOFFMAN ESTATES – The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) with David E. Smith, Executive Director, celebrated its 20th anniversary of advocating biblical principles in the public square at its 2012 Fall Banquet at The Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre on Friday, September 7. The evening highlighted Wallbuilders’ David Barton, who encouraged Christians to get involved in politics.
The evening started with introductory remarks of welcome, as David Smith introduced Julie Roys as the Master of Ceremonies. Julie is the senior producer for the WMBI Morning Show and has been a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio since 2007 (90.1FM). .
Music during the program included the National Anthem sung by Debbie K and a stirring rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic by the Wheaton Bible Church Sanctuary Choir led by Ross Heise, with pianist, Marsha Foxgrover.
A remarkable portrayal of Patrick Henry was featured when Dr. Mark Zumhagen, dressed appropriately in colonial garb, recited Patrick Henry’s timeless Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech made in St. John’s Church in Richmond to discuss relations with Great Britain in March of 1775. Like Patrick Henry who was willing to die to achieve liberty, the IFI has been advocating and fighting for liberty in the public square for 20 years.
After dinner was served Julie Roys recognized the Benefactors and the Elected Officials present. Next in the program was the presentation of three special award. Plaques were presented to the recipients by Executive Director David Smith.
The Covenant Keepers Hall of Fame award recipients, Bud and Clara Cawthon, were not in attendance to receive their award. Instead, a short video filmed by Executive Director David Smith was shown of his interview with Bud (97) and Clara (95) at their home in Pittsfield, IL. The Cawthons were married on April 14, 1937 in a Methodist parsonage in Pittsfield. The couple celebrated 75 years of togetherness with God and the Bible as the center of their lives.
Known to many at the IFI event, Penny Pullen was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award. Penny’s background is full of dedication to the pro-family movement, as when she served as a state rep from 1977 to 1993. Recently Penny was state chair for Rick Santorium in IL. Currently she is the State President of Eagle Forum.
The third presentation of the night, The Voice of Truth award went to David Norck. David Norck is an example of one who walks softly and carries God’s truth in his heart. After a full day of work, David Norck walks door-to-door trying to stop legislation such as the pending comprehensive sex education HB 3027.
IFI Executive Director David Smith’s remarks
Following the presentation, IFI’s Executive Director, David Smith, offered his own remarks. Julie Roys called David Smith “one of the hardest working conservatives in the state.”
David Smith recounted the story of Butch O’Hare, after which O’Hare Airport was named, to illustrate how courage derived from events of the past can relate to today’s challenging times.
Butch O’Hare’s father, Eddie O’Hare, although he tried to teach his son right from wrong, as member of the of the Capone mob, one day Eddie came to the conclusion that offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish upon his son “Easy” Eddie accordingly testified about the mob and helped convict Al Capone. Eddie in wanting to be a good example for his son, and having given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, paid the greatest price when his life ended with a blaze of gunfire.
Lt. Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare subsequently became a WW l l hero and was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous actions against the Japaneses and defending the U.S.S. It was through the teachings of Butch O’Hare’s dad that Butch was able to rise above what had been his father’s sordid life.
Continuing, David Smith challenged Christians to be prepared to make sacrifices, even though there are those who profit from evil activities such as gambling. Smith called Illinois the Land of Evil because it promotes and protects both the slaughter of human babies and homosexuality. Smith did rejoice that the gambling bill was defeated when vetoed by Governor Quinn in response to citizens contacting legislators
Smith likewise reminded those gathered how the religion of Jesus Christ is the only religion that is forbidden when he said, “We, as Christians must choose righteousness over peace.” Because so many Americans refuse to take a stand against evil, Smith urged us to “choose courage over fear” and to work “to prepare for a new birth of Christianity in this nation and here in Illinois.”
Having finished his remarks, David Smith invited James Lansberry from Samaritan Ministries, a Gold Level Benefactor, to come up on stage to talk about a Christian sharing program to cover medical bills. Lansberry spoke of a non-insurance approach where medial needs are shared directly with fellow believers. www.samaritanministries.org
Following Lansberry, Pastor John Kirkwood, an Advisory Board member of an IFI and host of Uncommon Sense (www.uncommonshop.com), made a special appeal for funds, telling us not to view our giving as a donation, but rather as a gratitude to God and a testimony to our Founding Fathers. Pastor Kirkwood notedd that a supporter of IFI had promised to match gifts up to $10,000.
David Barton’s message
Finally the much anticipated event of the evening arrived when David Smith introduced Keynote Speaker David Barton.
David Barton’s exhaustive research has made him an expert on historical and constitutional issues. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, with subject matter drawn largely from his massive library-museum of tens of thousands of original writings, documents, and artifacts from early America.
Barton heads the WallBuilders organization, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage, two presentations were made. www.wallbuilders.com
As initially stated by Barton, what makes this nation different from other nations is the Bible. The Bible deals with right and wrong, not the secular and the spiritual, which has resulted in a battle that is ongoing between religion and morality. “We are allowed to practice our faith, but must do so in private.”
Barton also explained how “exceptionalism” is a term applicable to this nation. It was Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French political sociologist, who coined the word exceptionalism to describe America when he visited and toured the nation in 1841. www.tocqueville.org/chap1.htm
In dealing with the issue of separation of church and state, David Barton went back in history to the time of Moses and Aaron to explain the Biblical distinction between church and state as defined by the roles assigned to Moses and Aaron by God.
Three distinct periods of history were noted by Barton; 1) The first three centuries were the “Centuries of Purity.” 2) The next twelve centuries were referred to as the “Dark Ages when the state took over the church; it was never the other way around. 3) The “Age of Reformation” followed the Dark Ages.
Barton used the reign of King Henry VIII, who lived from 1491 to 1547, as an example of a supreme ruler who was head of both church and state. After the death of King Henry, the daughter of the King and Anne Boleyn became Queen. Their daughter is now known as the first Queen Elizabeth and ruled from 1558 to 1603.
An incident by Rev. John Greenwood during Queen Elizabeth’s reign led to the Age of Reformation. Rev. Greenwood believed that the Queen was not higher in the church than God. For this radical belief Greenwood was condemned to hanging by Queen Elizabeth.
To be noted is that Rev. Greenwood was the first to separate from the Established Church in England. He founded the religious doctrine know as Puritanism or Congregationalism. The little band of Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth, Mass. in 1620 were his followers. Many religious groups followed the Pilgrims to America as they rebelled over the state control of religion in their countries of origin.
David Barton then expounded upon a still controversial issue — separation of church and state — which didn’t rear its ugly head until Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1801. It all came about when Jefferson responded with his now famous letter dated January 1, 1803 to a letter received from the the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut. The Danbury Baptist Association believed, as did the founder of the Baptist church in American, Roger William, who had written in1644 “that there must be “a hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”
In responding to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson used the “wall of separation” clause found in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Many believe that at the time Jefferson intended that the First Amendment’s “separation of church and state” phrase should mean “free exercise of religion” and not “exclusion of religion” from government.
This all changed in the 1947 Everson vs. Board of Education decision when Justice Hugo wrote in his written decision that Jefferson had gotten it all wrong: “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.”
David Barton noted numerous examples of President Obama’s hostility toward the Christian religion in an article published on February 29, 2012, America’s Most Biblically-Hostle U.S. President. It is an eye-opener and well worth your time to read. It will only reinforce your already firm belief that President cannot be elected to another four years in office.
In chronological order are (1) numerous records of Obama’s attacks on Biblical persons or organization; (2) examples of the hostility toward biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference to Islam’s activities and position. www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=106938
One display of President Obama’s hostility highlighted by David Barton, especially for Catholics, is how President Obama revoked the conscience protection put in place by President W. Bush in February of 2009 for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs.
In closing, David Barton made these poignant statements: “Religious liberty is the first thing to go; when religion goes our liberty also goes” - “We have a God-given right to religious liberty, but it’s just not politically protected.” - “Religion and morality cannot be separated from public life; God calls for the same morality in our secular lives as he does in our spiritual lives.”
The pre-dinner prayer was given by Rev. Gerald O’Reilly of Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein in which he blessed marriage and the unborn, speaking to all present as being “united as one in truth.”
The Benediction was given by Pastor George Flattery of Stone Church in Orland Park. I Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 58 was quoted by Pastor Flattery as a message that should be heeded in this 20th year anniversary of the Illinois Family Institute: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
David Barton used the passage from I Corinthians as a message to take home with us. We were reminded that our labor is never in vain. We were further told to go out and do our part to promote Biblical moral values and the sanctify of life both here in Illinois and at the federal level