Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 8.47.18 AM

By Nancy Thorner – 

Mobilizing and educating voters seems to be the name of the game and is essential for the midterm elections less than three weeks away. Last Sunday, October 12, iPledge Sunday 2014 took place in churches and homes from Washington, D.C. to across America, sponsored in Illinois by the Illinois Family Institute, a coalition partner of the noteworthy event, headed by  David E. Smith. Entitled, “The Rise of the Church,” iPledge Sunday was presented by a coalition of conservative and Christian organizations working together to mobilize and educate voters for the midterm elections, believing that there is power in unity to achieve common goals and impact the future of our nation.

On iPledge Sunday Christians from all 50 states gathered to listen to national leaders during the first hour of the October 12th event (6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time) via a live webcast broadcast. Grace Gospel Fellowship in Bensenville, served by Pastor John Kirkwood, was the host church of the live webcast broadcast (John Kirkwood is a weekly contributor for Clash Daily.  He also co-hosts the web’s most radioactive pod cast, Uncommon Show. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Barton of WallBuilders, pro-life activist Lila Rose, and others discussed “key issues” that are vitally important to the Body of Christ.

The second hour (7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Central Time Zone) was devoted to Illinois leaders.  Pastor Kirkwood was Emcee of the event.  Pastor Calvin Lindstrom of the Church of Christian Liberty in Arlington Heights and Pastor James Pittman of New Hope Community Church in Palatine discussed what people of faith must do to effectively engage our culture.  David E. Smith, as Executive Director of Illinois Family Institute, discussed current events, including the attack on natural marriage and new voter guide information for November.

As shared by David E. Smith in his e-mail invitation to watch the iPledge Sunday 2014 Webcast on Sunday, October 12:

With more than 75 percent of Americans calling themselves Christians, it’s time for the Church to rise up and take action to turn the tide in our nation?  We have the numbers and we have a voice.  If we are silent, we have no one to blame but ourselves for a Godless American.

It was appropriate that the plight of Christians today in Iraq would be spotlighted during the second hour of the i-Pledge webcast. Pastor John Kirkwood introduced Julianna Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council located in Glenview, IL.  As an Assyrian Christian born in Tehran, she escaped Iran in 1989 because of religious persecution.  It was in 2009 that Taimoorazy founded the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.  Its purpose is to spread the news of the plight of the Iraqi Christians. Pastor Kirkwood noted that he himself is an Assyrian, whose grandfather came from Mosul.  As a Christian-born Assyrian in Tehran, Taimoorazy escaped Iran in 1989 because of religious persecution.  It was in 2009 that she founded the Iraqi Christian Relief Council; its purpose is to spread the news of the plight of the Iraqi Christians.

The Assyrian Christians still speak the unique language of Christ, Aramaic, which Ms. Taimooraz proceeded to demonstrate when she recited the “Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. Not Arabs or Kurdish their faith has always been grounded in Christianity.  Modern day Iraqi Christians (Assyrians also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs), are descendants of the two great empires of Assyria and Babylonia.  When the Assyrian empire fell in 612 B.C the inhabitants were reduced to a small nation living at the mercy of their overlords.

As shared by Julianna Taimoorazy, the Assyrian Christians have suffered through the centuries, but Christian persecution has gotten worse since ISIS has become more powerful. Prior to 2003 there were about 1.5, 1.6 (million) Assyrian Christians living in Iraq. Today there are less than 400,000 left, 200,000 of whom are IDPs, internally displaced persons. Taimoorazy displayed a card bearing a symbol of a cross that ISIS places on the homes of Assyrian Christians warning them to leave or face death. According to Taimoorazy only five to 10 families have converted to Islam in Mosul. These families make up the only former Christians left in the city. The majority of Assyrian Christians would rather be homeless and live in parks and open areas than convert to Islam.  This account relates how ISIS forced the last Iraqi Christians to flee Mosel in July of this year.

In closing remarks, David Smith related how last March only 18% of Illinoisans turned out to vote and that it’s our duty to vote, for this is the very minimum we can do.  We are to pray in the weeks before the election for Godly leadership throughout this state and this nation.

A perfect finish to the event was the singing of “Rise Up O Man of God” by Bill Ward, member of Grace-Gospel Center, with Ward accompanying himself on the guitar.


Note these special events:

Peter LaBarbera made a brief appearance during the second hour at which time he announced an event that his organization, Americans for Truth, will be hosting on Saturday, October 25 at the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL, “Can You Be ‘Gay and Christian?” The Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Michael Brown.  Check here for more information.

The “Black Robed Regiment” with Dan Fisher is being brought back by popular demand, sponsored by the Illinois Family Institute. Please check this link for information about the venues for the four performances.  Learn About the Preachers of the 18th Century!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wheaton College Horn Quartet

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Illinois Family Institute, David E. Smith, IFI Executive Director, held its Faith, Family & Freedom Fall Banquet on Friday night, September 19, titled, “Freedom in the Balance,” at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, IL. Featured was Bonhoeffer author Eric Metaxas, whose message was a powerful one in light of the coming November elections. The six hundred friends and members of the Illinois Family Institute who attended the event left inspired with a renewed dedication to go out and spread its timely and prophetic message.

Throughout the program the excellent Wheaton College Horn Quartet & Pastor Rob Daniels, Executive Pastor, Westbrook Christian Church, performed hymns and patriotic tunes, among them the “National Anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.”  Piano music was also provided by the very talented Benjamin Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. David E. Smith, while dinner was being served.

For the third year in a row Julie Roys, a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio, served as Master of Ceremonies.  Julie can be heard on the live-in, call-in Moody Radio program she hosts, Up for Debate, every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. CT.  Ms. Roys spoke of the  New York Times #1 bestseller Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, published three years ago, as an incredible story of a Christian who messages of truth were dismissed by the German people until it was too late. It is a lesson she hopes the American people will heed before it is too late. Said Julie Roys: “With the Senate up for grabs, we as Christians can make a difference by voting according to a Biblical worldview.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, IL, gave the welcoming prayer. After dinner was served and enjoyed, Bishop Paprocki was honored, along with Bishop Lance Davis (who later pronounced the closing Benediction) by David Smith as dual recipients of the “Voice of Truth” award for their work in promoting Biblical marriage. Following are comments made by Bishops Paprocki and Davis upon receiving their awards. For Bishop Paprocki: We are swimming against the tide; we must stick together or else we’ll drown … With God’s grace in the end truth will prevail.  Bishop Lance warned: The enemy is overtaking the U.S. and winning, but it’s not over until the Lord says that it is over.

In keeping with the theme of “Freedom In The Balance,” David Smith had some positive comments to share about the IFI. Seven new employees and three more contract lobbyists have been hired. Foremost in Smith’s heart and mind was how America’s liberty, for which countless Americans have fought and died to preserve, was being attacked from the inside. “Our nation is faltering and our freedom is in danger.” Most fitting was Smith’s use of a Bonhoeffer quote with a message that is applicable to today. As the German people didn’t taken Bonhoeffer’s warning seriously, the American people are falling into the same trap.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.

How tragic that Bonhoeffer was hung on April 9th, 1945, after being imprisoned for 18 months.  Happening two weeks later was the American liberation of Germany.   Kneeling in prayer before his death, Bonhoeffer, certain God had heard his prayer, died peacefully and entirely submissive to the will of God.

David Smith spoke with passion and boldly about how conservative people of faith are being attacked over gay rights, sharing how Catholic Cardinal Dolan permitted gays to march for the first time in this year’s St. Patrick Day parade. Related also by Smith was a powerful illustration of the level of commitment conservative Christians are up against by Democrats in advancing their gay political agenda. State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, away from the Capitol on a week long vigil with her dying son, Garret, hearing that her vote was needed with what was a razor thin margin required to pass gay marriage legislation, Naomi  left her son’s bedside to drive the 90-mile trip to Springfield. The legislation passed, but Jakobsson’s son died ten minutes short of her return to his bedside.

Working together is essential to protect our religious liberty.  David Smith, confident that we can turn Illinois around, informed supporters and friends that “we are the answer and the voice.”   As an admonishment to those present who remained doubtful it can be done, Smith said: If you don’t believe this is so, you have no right being here.

Furthermore, “We must mobilize to keep the radical Left from trying to push through their gay marriage agenda.”

David Smith asked us never to forgot the date of September 11th thirteen years ago when this nation was assaulted.  The real battle began in Shanksville, Pa., where 33 men, after praying, stormed the cockpit refusing to be intimidated by those who were determined to take away this nation’s God-given liberty.

It was now time for David Smith to introduce the Keynote speaker, Eric Metaxas, to an audience who was eager and ready to hear what he had to say.

Announcement by Illinois Family Institute:

  • Another performance of “Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment” with Dan Fisher will take place on Sunday, October 26, at the Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL 60004. Reservations are not required.  A free will offering will be taken.
  • Voter Guide Resources are provided by the Illinois Family Institute. The full online version of the IFI 2014 General Election Voter Guide is available for download HERE.   Don’t delay in ordering some for your church, friends, or relatives. Please contact the IFI office at (708) 781-9328.  Or you can e-mail us.

Part 2 will detail the events that shaped the life of Eric Metaxas, how he was led to write biographies, and his message to us and to the Church. It’s an amazing story that you won’t want to miss.

L-R: Paul & Toni Tait, Donna & Marlin Reed In back: Carl Lambrecht and Nancy Thorner

Thursday, September 26, 2014

2014-09-17 16.33.43

By Nancy Thorner – 

Eric Metaxas, as an author, speaker and radio host, was an excellent choice for featured speaker at the Illinois Family Institute’s “Faith, Family & Freedom” Fall Banquet, Executive Director David E. Smith, held at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, IL, on Friday, September 19. Given that Eric Metaxas is author of two acclaimed biographies, Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spyand Amazing Grace:  William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, his literary accomplishments gave Metaxas the authority and ability to emote creditably and passionately  on the topic of the evening, “Freedom In The Balance.”

When introduced by Master of Ceremonies Julie Roys, who is a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio, Eric Metaxas expressed his humbleness at being in a roomful of heroes such as David Smith, and how by comparison he was a nobody, before going on to praise God for what those present were accomplishing in doing the Lord’s work. Metaxas likewise recognized Bishop Thomas Paprocki and Bishop Lance Davis as modern day heroes, who earlier in the program were recognized as dual recipients of the “Voice of Truth” award for their work promoting Biblical marriage.What life experiences shaped Eric Metaxas?

A son of two immigrant parents arriving in the 50’s, his father from Greece and his mother from Germany, both having seen Communism up close as having lived under it, Communism was detested for what it represented in the home of young Eric Metaxas.

It was a given that Eric Metaxas would attend a Greek Orthodox church, being of Greek heritage, which proved to be a wonderful cultural expression but little else.  His church association cemented his ethic identity; it was part of learning to be Greek.  Absent was a firm grounding in the gospel faith of the Scriptures.  Metaxas believes that without a foundation to convey that the Scriptures are true and real and were meant to influence every part of our lives, it is impossible to live life effectively.

When attending Yale in the 80’s, not knowing who he was or what he believed, Eric Metaxas found himself in trouble. Certainly at Yale, decidedly liberal and secular in nature, much as William Buckley had experienced in the 40’s, Metaxas was not given the grounding he so needed to establish his self-identity. According to Metaxas, unless students are able to establish a strong belief system they will end up drifting along with the tide.

Upon graduation from Yale Eric was lost, having not yet decided the meaning of life or what his role in life would be.  With God taken out of the equation, Metaxas found both answers unattainable.  In 1988, four years after Metaxas graduated from Yale, Jesus came into his life, Metaxas became a Christian, and Jesus changed everything.

Eric Metaxas spoke about the creativity of God, how God speaks to each of us personally but in different ways. For Eric Metaxas it is impossible to know who you are apart from Him.  It was God who guided Metaxas to his calling of today, when twenty-five years ago God became real to Metaxas.  As Metaxas shared: “God wants to guide us more than we want Him to guide us.” 

God led Eric Mataxas to write biographies

Eric found joy in working for Charles Colson.  He also wrote books for children, but it was God who finally led Metaxas to write biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce.  An urgency seemed to exist for the stories of these two great and influential men to revealed as a source for encouragement and guidance. Through research in writing the biography of Wilberforce, “Amazing Grace,” Metaxas came to understand that Wilberforce didn’t keep his faith private, nor was he hesitant to publicly express his political beliefs.  Although Wilberforce is mostly known for abolishing the slave trade in England, his work went far beyond this horrific offense of the time. Great Britain was totally changed by the time Wilberforce died in 1833.

Wilberforce is but one example of how God used one man, which prompted this question from Metaxas, “Are you giving God everything you have?’  We are in a battle now, not 5 years from now!  In reminding his attentive audience how people were burned at the stake for praising Jesus, Eric Metaxas is not pleased when he hears people say “that’s just the way it is” or “it’s not worth fighting for.”  This is fatalistic behavior.  With Jesus there is hope even in the darkest places.

The biography written by Eric Metaxas of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, unlike his William Wilberforce biography, didn’t have a happy ending. To paraphrase: Death, as related by Metaxas, is the most terrible thing imaginable unless it is accompanied by a homesickness for God.  If you are suffering it is much easier to long for Heaven; nevertheless, anything good achieved here is but a shadow of what is to come. So death did not end Bonhoeffer’s life. The message he left behind speaks loudly and  clearly to this nation today.  Living in a nation incredibly blessed, however, can make us complacent.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer grew up in a Germany that was a Christian nation.  In time the German people, proud of who they were, became complacent of their faith. When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany June 30th, 1933, he talked like a Christian.  As head of state Hitler theoretically had power over the state, despite the assumed belief of the German people that the Church should function only as the conscience of the State, never being too closely aligned with the state (No separation of Church and state existed in Germany.) It was the Arian Paragraph, specifically the third cause of the Reconstruction of the Professional Civil Service doctrine passed on April 1, 1933, that ignited Bonhoeffer to speak out and take action in 1933. The Arian Paragraph found in the legislation of Nazi Germany were regulations to exclude Jews from organizations, federations, parties, and, ultimately, all public life.

Despite the repeated and outspoken warnings of Bonhoeffer to his fellow citizens when Hitler began to act against the Church, in that Hitler did some good, the German people said “leave him alone.”  After all the church was part of the state and paid the salaries of ministers.

Complacency flourishing in American churches?

“Romans 13” is a source of confusion for many pastors in its message about Christians and government. Many Christian pastors and leaders today are erroneously reviving the divine-right-of-kings argument used in the Dark Ages, which created some of the most horrific human affairs in history when people submitted regardless of natural standards of justice.

This interpretation of the Bible and “Romans, Chapter 13” has not gone unchallenged. The True Meaning of Submission in Romans 13 shows, with overwhelming support, that submission to government is limited and that the obey-government-no-matter-what argument is false

Because Bonhoeffer was unsuccessful in waking up the Church in Germany, the Church stopped being a church.  Had the Church rose up and fought in the name of Jesus, it could have defeated Hitler’s tyrannical government. Obama was reelected president in 2012 because millions of Christians and evangelicals throughout the nation refused to vote for Romney, many because Romney was a practicing Mormon.  Were all great leaders Evangelical Christians?  Behold Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Winston Churchill.  And wasn’t former president Jimmy Carter an Evangelical Christian?

Everyday the Church in Germany didn’t stand up in its own defense, Hitler took from it more and more power.  As the Church was asleep in Germany, so it is asleep here in America.  Our religious freedom is slowly being taken away. The people in Germany didn’t understand what was happening until it was too late.  Which prompted Eric Metaxas to ask: “Do we have enough people who care about the unborn or for youth who are attracted to a same sex partner?” It is wrong to allow others to label you as anti-gay. Since we are all broken, we are obligated to love others who are likewise broken.  Although true that the Church has been silent while the world has done terrible things against gays, by reflecting the love of God we can help those who are struggling with their identity.

Our Founding Fathers understood that at the heart of everything was God.  Lacking a moral populous, this nation’s experiment with democracy will collapse. Even the free market is immoral if it doesn’t take a stand against producing unsavory commodities for public consumption.

This nation has lost the Spirit of 1776 and instead there is a Spirit of Silence.  Church leaders must speak out, for if the church is weakened, fighting for religious freedom will be impossible.  Eric Metaxas reminded church leaders that Sunday, October 5 was “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” On this Sunday approximately one thousand evangelical pastors will not only urge their congregation how to vote, but who to vote for.  Metaxas urged all church leaders to participate by saying at least one statement that might challenge their 501c3 tax status.  This would be a show of their faithfulness.

When asked by a journalist where the Church and religious freedom will be 10 years from now, Eric Metaxas admitted he didn’t know. It will all depend on everyone in this room and what they do. We can’t be too tired to fight and must lead in our circles.  Prolific voices are needed to lead the charge to awaken the Christian Community as were found in the pastors of the “Black Robed Regiment”, who laid it all out on the alter for freedom in our War for Independence.

If at all possible, head to the Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL, for a presentation of “Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment” with Dan Fisher on Sunday, October 26 at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by the Illinois Family Institute. The event is open free to the public.  Reservations are not required, but a free will offering will be taken.

In closing

Eric Metaxas laid out in stark terms what God expects of us.  Hopefully there will be a Churchill-like figure who will stand up and lead this nation back from its descent into moral depravity.   But we can’t just sit back and wait.  We must be the counter culture right now. To ministers, Metaxas urged them to rejoice in agitation of what they are legally permitted to say freely from the pulpit.  In ten years it might be too late and preaching freely from the pulpit will be forbidden.

God will judge us for what we did.  We have the liberty to do his will.  Germany waited too long and the enemy took hold of power.  We will also lose if we don’t act to preserve Christianity and the freedom to preach freely from the pulpit.  The outcome is not predetermined.  It is up to us.  Remembering that God is alive, He can use each one of us by empowering us through the Holy Spirit with what we need to win the fight.

At the urging of Rep. Tom Morrison (R-54th IL District), participants were asked to sign the Manhattan Declaration, a movement of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians for life, marriage, and religious liberty.

The mood following the program was hushed and reverent, but filled with an urgent need to go out and spread the message of the evening.

Part 1: Thorner: Spirit of Freedom alive and well at the IFI Fall Banquet, Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Religious Freedom

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

Our nation’s forefathers were Christians, and they wrote often they believed the battle to attain their liberty was won due to their reliance on God and the Holy Bible. Through the years, Americans and their leaders enacted laws that reflected biblical values and principles. We remained a highly moral country for almost two centuries, largely because our people wove their Christian beliefs into all parts of their lives, including the public arena.

What happened to America from 1776 to the present? How can we explain the immorality that exists today? Where was the church in this unfortunate battle that ignored historical precedents and an established culture based on moral values, in order to introduce anti-biblical, moral defying laws? How did we slip so far away from the godly standards America once valued?

If there could be one time in history that stands out as indicating a change of direction, it would be the Supreme Court decision to remove prayer from our schools. Some argue that ruling was just a consequence of a society that had slowly morphed into one less religious and more secular. But there is little evidence to prove that is true.

However, It is rather astonishing that not a single legal brief from a Christian church or organization officially opposed that Supreme Court case; a decision that most see as the “beginning of an escalating downward trend.” That fact indicates the true cause for America’s moral decline may be due to a change of attitude within church leadership, that had begun to intentionally ignore all things political and/or controversial. That trend continued and exists today.

There may be many good reasons and excuses for that major change, but the results for both the church and society have been devastating. Church membership has drastically fallen, immoral laws and thus immorality abounds, and our nation and people no longer resemble that of our of our amazing forefathers.

Christians must fight back

So, should we just give up and admit America has declined so much that we can never restore those days and all we have lost?  Absolutely not!  The Church can survive this lapse, but it likely will require our spiritual leaders to become involved in the battle, rather than remain casual observers who rationalize they have no responsibility in what is happening to our culture. They are the one who have the platform and trust of those who want morality to regain its former place in our lives, but need instructions and information to do so.

Church leaders in 1776  led their people into a war for altruistic purposes. Today they just need to lead their people into voting booths armed with facts that enable them to make the right choices.

That is how Christians can fight to regain our lost freedoms and principles, without the traditional weapons of war. This victory can be won through the power of  prayer, words, and inspiration from God.

Our ancestors tasted the bitterness of subjection to a tyrannical King who cared little for them. Today we are experiencing an overbearing, power hungry government that is largely secular, with a largely anti-Christian agenda. Our ancestors could not live with tyranny, but sadly Christians and their church leaders today do not seem as concerned about the issues, direction, and spiritual health of our county, at least not enough to take any action that would help reverse the trend.

Church leaders claim that it is not their duty to educate their congregation about anti-Christian laws or to provide enlightening information at election time, but, if not them, who then? Most people are so busy with their lives, they do not have time to keep up with the myriad of political issues and laws. The majority are likewise completely unaware of what is happening to our society due to new laws that invite immorality. Who better to give them facts than the entity they can most trust with the truth: Their Church leaders.

The Black Robed Pastors were willing to die by the sword for freedom; Church leaders today are not asked to die, just to speak out against morality and to thwart the efforts of those enacting anti-Christian laws that are incrementally destroying America. Will they enlighten their parishioners; equip them with truths and allow their congregations to become informed “points of light” in their neighborhoods, at their jobs, and possibly even at town hall meetings?

Heed these words in a 1944 speech by Norman Thomas, an American socialist and a six-time Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, then consider how close they are to our current condition:

The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.

One hundred sixty eight years earlier, Samuel Adams, as a Founding Father, an architect of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States, and second cousin to later U.S. President John Adams, expressed this prophetic warning:

If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.

There is a glimmer of hope in that some Church leaders are awakening to the reality that they must begin providing facts about bad bills, laws, and procedures that negatively affect and impact Christian families. That indeed would be exceedingly helpful to families, and has the potential to change the direction of our Country.  However, they are few and far between.

Everyone needs a source whose opinion they greatly value to provide critical information about controversial issues; not just any source, but one they can trust. Christians can combine their voices, and thus have a positive impact on the culture.  We applaud the pastors who have awakened to become beacons of light to the body of Christ.  Meet the new “Black Robed Regiment” who are stepping forward to protect the church and our country. May many more follow.

Black Robed Regiment message needs to be heard today!

During the week of August 24 through the 28th, The Illinois Family Institute, David E. Smith, Executive Director, held ten special events in different areas of the state featuring Pastor Dan Fisher and his presentation titled, “Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment.” Pastor Fisher is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, Oklahoma, and also serves in the Oklahoma state legislature. As one of the first original Pulpit Freedom Pastors, Fisher is on the boards of Bott Christian Radio Network, Reclaiming America for Christ, and Vision America.

One presentation was held in the Bensenville church of Pastor John Kirkwood, who is Associate Director of the Christian Emergency League (CEL). To learn more visit  A core strategy of the CEL is to is to partner with like-minded believers in prayer and finances to advance Christ and the morals set forth in the Holy Word of God. Its goal is to partner with like-minded Christians to form a chapter in all 50 states and territories, although the core of the CEL will most likely be drawn from pastors.  Never to be dismissed by church leaders are these words of warning by German patriot and Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer during WW II which ultimately cost him his life:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Such powerful words. They should be put in cement for future centuries to observe, consider, and embrace. Pastor Kirkwood, Associate Director of CEL, can be contacted at (309) 863-5196 or P.O. Box 300, Bensenville, IL, 60106.

This video shows Pastor Fisher recounting the story in a Black Robed Regiment presentation through the eyes of Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, the minister who spearheaded the Black Robed Regiment movement. In his impersonation of Rev. Muhlenberg, Dan Fisher, appearing on stage initially wearing a black robe, unrobed to reveal a military uniform underneath, as did Rev. Muhlenberg, when at the conclusion of his Sunday sermon on January 21,1776 he declared:

In the language of the Holy Writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.  There is a time to fight, and that time is now coming!

Marching to the rear of his church, the Emanuel Lutheran Church in Woodstock, Virginia, in his full military uniform, Muhlenberg declared, “Who among you is with me?”  On that day one-by-one men from his congregation stood up and joined Muhlenberg in the fight for liberty. They embraced their families and walked down the aisle to add their names to their pastor’s, as others from the community heeded the call.

Shortly afterwards the Woodstock congregation and community watched their men ride off to war with pastor Muhlenberg riding in the lead as part of the 8th Virginia Regiment, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

It’s now or never for church leaders to take a stand to become the Black Robed Regiment of todayin order to preserve religious freedom for generations of Americans to come, remembering that freedom is a Gift from God.  It is time for pastors to speak boldly and their civic duty to do so.  Step up to the challenge today and become among the ranks of The Black Robed Regiment of the 21th century.

Part 1: Thorner & O’Neil:  Calling all Christians  

Part 2:  Thorner & O’Neil: Calling all Church Leaders 

Part 3:  Thorner & O’Neil:  Church falls short if evangelizing is sole purpose 

Part 4:  Thorner & O’Neil: Patriot preachers of the 18th century 

Religious Freedom

By Nancy Thorner – 

“The Role of the Church in Today’s Culture” was the topic of a free event held at Moody Church, on Sunday, March 9th. As David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute wrote:

You know it, and I know it. Far too many Christians are content to ignore the moral decay in our state and nation. Instead of boldly exposing evil, we tolerate it, and, in some instances, even affirm it. Should the Church confront cultural decay?” What does it mean to be “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world?” (Matthew 5:12:16)

Participating in the event were Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Eric Metaxas. Their dialogue was moderated by radio personality Wayne Shepherd, who for nearly 33 years has served Moody Broadcasting in Chicago.


Dr. Erwin Lutzer is an evangelical Christian pastor, teacher and author who since 1980, as its longest serving pastor, has been the senior pastor of Moody Church now celebrating its 150th anniversary.  Lutzer has authored more than 30 books, including “Hitler’s Cross.” More recently Lutzer’s book entitled, “The Da Vinci Deception,” critiqued Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, “The Da Vinci Code.”

Eric Metaxas is an American author, best known for two biographies, “Amazing Grace:  William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery” and “Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, and Spy.” Metaxas is founder and host of a New York City lecture series on topics related to religion and culture called “Socrates in the City:  “Conversations on the Examined Life.”

In the beginning ten-minute statements (clarified by moderator Wayne Shepherd as a dialogue, not a debate) were made by Dr. Lutzer and Eric Metaxas centering around the narratives of their most popular books:   Dr. Lutzer’s “Hitler’s Cross” (the story of a nation whose church forgot its primary call and discovered its failure too late), and Eric Metaxas’ “Bonhoeffer” (a biography that presents Bonhoeffer as a clear-headed, deeply convicted Christian who submitted to no one and nothing except God and his Word).

Dominating the conversational dialogue throughout the evening:  What happened to the Church in Germany during the reign of Hitler, and how these tragic happenings should be a warning and a wake-up call to the church?

Dr. Lutzer described how Hitler raised the broken cross of the swastika and released a terrible monstrosity upon the world in which six million Jews died.  There was much pressure on the German people to believe that Hitler was doing the right thing.  The same suspension of judgment existed then as exists in America today.  After WWI Germany was saddled with debt.  Much desperation and hardship resulted.  The German people and the church, caught up in the glories of Hitler, were ripe for a takeover.  As the Weimar Government had failed, the German people were looking for a new and strong leader and were willing to give up their freedom for bread.  And Hitler did improve the lives of the German people early on, even putting people back to work.  It was during this time that the German people experienced euphoria being caught up in Hitler’s electrifying personality and grandiose promises.

Because of a suspension of judgment, Hitler was able to hypnotize an entire nation.  Church leaders throughout Germany were also seduced by the Satanic power of the Fuhrer and allowed the Swastika a prominent place alongside the Christian cross in their sanctuaries, having decided that what was good for the government was also good for the church.   Most German churches even looked away when Hitler implemented a Solution to his Jewish problem.

Eric Metaxas expounded upon the role of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) who made a heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany as a dissident attempting to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside.  Bonhoeffer knew that twisting Truth to sell it more effectively was inexcusable.  He understood that the church was called to speak for them who could not speak.  As a theologian and anti-Nazi activist Bonhoeffer thought it the duty of the Christian, even a privilege and honor, to suffer with those who suffered.  Because of his Christian faith, Bonhoeffer stood up to the Nazis and ultimately gave his life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed that religion shouldn’t be exiled to a few hours on a Sunday morning, but we must exercise our faith in every way when we leave the building in our secular lives.  Bonhoeffer stood up and preached what he believed, as reflected in this Bonhoeffer quote:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

There was much to reflect upon during the course of the evening.  Dialogues back and forth between Dr. Lutzer and Eric Metaxas opened up lines of thoughts which should be quite troubling to all Christians who find themselves dissatisfied with the direction of the church in what has become a post-Christian era.  Not to be denied were the similarities presented between what happened to the church in Nazi Germany and the present direction of the church in America.

Expressions of Concern, Caution and Merit:

The church in Germany lost its Biblical image.  We are now in danger of losing the gospel.  Liberal churches have already abandoned teaching according to the Gospel.  Evangelical churches are now in the process of losing gospel teaching.  A sickness exists when the church does not speak out.

It is frowned upon to be judgmental, such as speaking out against gay marriage over fear of being condemned.  To say nothing represents a great misunderstanding of the Scriptures. It is possible to be judgmental if done out of love on behalf of an individual.  Let the Bible define what love is, not popular culture.

The spiral of silence must be broken.  Churches get sucked into the spiral of silence. The less people speak out, the more difficult it becomes to do so as the days pass by.  We must speak out in opposition or we will regret the day.

A herd mentality exists in this culture.  We are told to get with it because this is the direction society is taking. Churches are not immune from society sanctions, examples being same-sex marriage, climate change, and the legalization of marijuana.  Even corporations employ herd mentality if doing so will increase their bottom line, such as in embracing the green issue.

We are blind in this nation as to what is coming down the path.  Islamic radicals are infiltrating all levels of government.  We are subservient to Muslims, submitting to the demands of Islam.  Dark days are ahead.  The Left and Islam are in cahoots to destroy the Church and to destroy this nation.

Sharia law is contrary to our Constitution as it controls rights.  Sharia law would end freedom of religion for every person not believing in Sharia law.

Rights aren’t taken away all at once.  It’s a slow process as the noose begins to tighten more and more until it becomes too late.  The loss of the Gospel in Germany resulted in its decline.

Authority must be respected, but there are limits.  Gridlock isn’t bad in Congress. Doing nothing is often better than doing something.  The finest hour for legislators is when they debate and argue.

What the Average Christian Must Do:

  • Pray for our leadership as the Bible commands.
  • Become actively engaged politically.  It is shocking how may Evangelicals don’t vote.
  • Encourage others to become politically involved.
  • Encourage pastors to push up to the edge in the spoken Word. The IRS couldn’t possibly deal with 30,000 pastors if every pastor pushed the envelope as far as possible.  Our Founding Fathers wanted a discussion of the church to take place in the public square.

Dr. Lutzer believes God is giving the American church another chance.  Christians cannot remain hidden from the world.  They do so by exiling religion to within the walls of a church.  Instead, Christians must wake up and stop playing church, even as many Americans are sleepwalking toward a terrible outcome with no understanding of what lies ahead.

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the keeper of our nation.  What direction the church takes will depend on the church itself, but if the church goes down many things will suffer along with it.

Dr. Lutzer, in closing, recommended that a statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power be emblazoned on every pastor’s door:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Dr. Ben Carson also sees the writing on the wall with remarks made after an address to a standing-room-only crowd on Monday, March 10, when he compared our government and institutions as “very much to Nazi Germany.”

Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 09:51 AM | Permalink



Tuesday, October 08, 2013

20131004_182018By Nancy Thorner –

The 2013 Fall Banquet of the Illinois Family Institute was held at the Midwest Conference Center in Northlake, IL, on October 4th, 2013. The theme of the evening, “Courage to Stand,” featured Dr. Benjamin Carson as the Keynote Speaker. This annual event was sold out over a month before its Oct. 4th scheduled date with 1100 attending, prompting the addition of an overflow room.David E. Smith is the Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, whose mission it is to strengthen the family and restore traditional Judeo-Christian values to our culture by educating, equipping, and networking men, women and churches for the battle to protect the family.

Julie Roys, as a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio, was first up at the podium as Masters of Ceremony to welcome the guests.

Making an appearance on stage prior to supper being served was Executive Director David Smith. Mr. Smith spoke about the success of IFI lobbying efforts in having the General Assembly in Springfield fail to pass a homosexual marriage bill that initially seemed like a slam dunk. Praised was the IFI Lobby Day on Feb. 20 of this year when thousands of “Don’t Redefine Marriage” supporters converged on Springfield from all over Illinois. Support also came from the Chicago Coalition of African American Pastors, chaired by Bishop Lance Davis.Black state legislators were told in no uncertain terms that voting for gay marriage was unacceptable.

Another Pro-Marriage Lobby Day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.  As the battle to make gay marriage legal in Illinois is alive and growing stronger, along with the good possibility that the gay marriage proposal could be brought up for a vote a number of times in the upcoming veto sessions of the 98th General Assembly (the first being from the 21 to the 24 of October), Smith urged all to come to Springfield on October 23rd to rally against the Illinois General Assembly redefining marriage.

As stressed by Smith, homosexual marriage is a Biblical issue.  The Lord wants us to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  Sitting back and relaxing is not possible if the evil leftist effort is to be stopped.  Legislators must be sent this message:  Don’t even think about redefining marriage!  Who are we to decide that one life is more important than another by killing babies in the womb.  This indicates the barbaric nature and direction of our society, whereas every life should be precious.

Smith encouraged all present, as did State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) later on in the program, to become regular financial supporters of the IFI by making a monthly commitment, so enabling the IFI to continue with its vital work and hopefully to make it possible to hire a few more individuals to expand its work.

Dr. Benjamin Carson did not disappoint those who had eagerly looked forward to seeing him in person and hearing him speak when signing up to attend the IFI banquet a few months ago. There was evident excitement in the room with an enthusiastic applause of welcome when Dr. Carson walked on stage to take his place at the podium.  All had a vivid memory of Dr. Carson’s poignant remarks at a prayer breakfast with President Obama sitting near by with an evident scowl on his face.

It was shortly afterwards encounter with the President that Dr. Carson was audited for the first time by the IRS.

In a lighthearted way, Dr. Carson wasted no time in noting that he’s neither a Republican or a Democrat, but if he were a member of a party it would be the “logic” party.   Dr. Carson then went on to relate how when the Baltimore Sun found out he was going to Illinois to speak, it exclaimed how Carson was going to Illinois to speak to a “hate group,” so defined by the Southern Poverty Law Group.

Dr. Carson then continued to relate some amazing details about his life.  When only eight years old Carson dreamed of becoming a mission doctor.  Knowing that mission doctors served at a great personal sacrifice with little pay, by age thirteen Carson’s thinking had changed.  Having grown up in poverty, Carson decided that being rich was better than being poor so why not become a psychiatrist, as he was already providing a sounding board for his fellow classmates?  With a bit of bravado, Carson declared that he was going to become the greatest psychiatrist the world had ever known.

Following his desire to become a psychiatrist, Dr. Carson reasoned, knowing that God endows everyone with special gifts and talents, and how God had endowed him with good hand and eye coordination and he also liked to dissect things, why not become a terrific brain surgeon?  Contemplating further, Carson reasoned that by operating 10 – 18 hours on kids the rewards would be great — a long life for the children and a big return on his investment.

In commenting about ObamaCare, Dr. Carson opined what an amazing thing it was to be a member of the medical profession and to be able to contribute to the well-being of mankind.  Regarding ObamaCare and the haste in which it was put together, it is not about health but instead about control.  It involves people at the pinnacle of power who wish to place government in charge of our lives.  It requires courage to remind elected officials that they work for us and not the other way around.  Carson also bemoaned political correctness and called it “a scourge on our society.”  Freedom of expression is so important and is to be cherished.

Dr. Carson subtly compared what is happening in the White House to the teachings of Chicago native, Saul Alinsky’s, whose Rules for Radicals published in 1971 served as impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change.  Never mentioned by name, but implied, was how the President had been schooled in Alinsky’s rules as a community activist in Chicago.   Prevalent among the Alinsky’s rules being applied by the White House through its actions and policies: 1) if you push a negative hard enough it will gain traction and become a positive and 2) driving a wedge between people or groups of people will create class warfare and with it division and unrest.

Dr. Carson’s dream of becoming a doctor suffered a major setback when his parents divorced, prompting these thoughts about marriage. To Dr. Carson, marriage is a relationship between God and His people.  “Just as the secular progressive movement is currently indicating that it’s fine for a child to say that 2 + 2 = 5 if the child is able to explain why this is so — as sanctioned through Common Core initiatives — so secular progressives are likewise pushing the idea that homosexual marriage is fine and dandy by summarily dismissing the covenant between God and His people,” he said.

Although there exists a legal way to establish a homosexual union, secular progressives seem intent on changing what is a pillar of our society — traditional marriage between one man and one woman.   Anyone who doesn’t believe as they do are called haters, Carson said. “They are intolerant.”

Dr. Carson was an object of such derision when a “Chik-fil-a” -like attempt was made to paint Carson as a homophobic, only to be backed away from when the accusation about Carson proved to be unfounded. Carson reminded the audience not to be afraid of those who try to discredit what they firmly believe, for God is with them and will provide the strength and the courage needed to prevail.

Regarding Dr. Carson’s mother who had only a 3rd grade education, she decided early on that welfare was not for her, not wanting to become a victim knowing that handouts zap motivation. Although it would have been easier for Carson’s mother to sit down and wait for a handout, she took her two sons out into the country, knocking on doors of farmers, to inquire whether she and her two sons could pick apples, beans, or whatever else might have been available and in season.  A three to one deal was offered. “We will pick four bushels, giving you three and taking home with us one bushel,” his mother told the farmers. Through canning, there was plenty to eat in the Carson household.

Dr. Carson applauded Bishop Lance Davis of the Black Chicago Alliance for standing up against homosexual marriage. “Young black men and women must receive a message that the act of fathering a child is more likely to dissolve their lives than to involve them in achieving success,” he said.

Young black youth must also be schooled in economics, specifically, how to bring the dollar back into their communities to create jobs and develop entrepreneurship, Carson said.  Instead, young people speak about victimhood, content to receive Democratic handouts to insure loyalty to party, not realizing that such dependence on government rather than self will only result in continued feelings of victim hood.

As to the plight of this nation’s education system, Dr. Carson painted a rather dismal picture, one in which this nation’s students rank 22nd out of 23rd among the richest countries surveyed in solving math and scientific problems.  He mentioned additional worrisome figures: 30% of young people don’t graduate from high school, and  40% end up taking more than four years to finish college.

“In this technological era we live in, this nation has a great need for physics and math majors,” he said. “Students must be encouraged to sign up for the difficult courses required for preparation to become engineers and scientists, which call for more work and study. Education standards started slipping when this nation’s moral compass went down the tubes.”

It didn’t help that the space program was killed, Carson said.  Forgotten is that the program was also about developing technology and innovation.  What about a nation that has eight times more energy than Saudi Arabia, yet oil and coal were treated with disdain even before the EPA declared CO2 a pollutant and the cause of global warming.

“The EPA has become so powerful that unless energy is harvested in a safe way — like wind or solar power — the offending entity is under threat of  being shut down,” he said.  “As a pinnacle nation, on the verge of losing this status, will we be able to learn from the mistakes of others and change course in time to remain competitive and a world power?”

When Alexis de Tocqueville, an aristocratic Frenchman, visiting this nation in 1831 to see what made democracy tick, what he found was a superior educational system where students were completely literate by the 2nd grade.  This explained how pioneers could go from one part of the country to another.  They knew how to invest and to solve problems.  By middle school students could answer question that most college students would be unable to answer now days, and we live in an age of technology!  His book, Democracy in America is still popular today and is used as a text in political science and history courses.

There is a way for this nation to catch up very quickly in education through virtual classrooms where millions of students can be exposed to expert instruction simultaneously, Carson encourage. “Students must return to a place where they are able to fit into a larger puzzle and not be islands unto themselves.  Spirituality must also be returned to become a guiding factor in their lives.  With God removed the void has been filled with worldly things, which has led to theft, selfishness, lack of respect and murder, etc.”

Political correctness was shown for what it is and condemned by Dr. Carson.  Individuals can easily be led astray by those intent on spreading false information presented as truth, which explains why this nation must concentrate on getting its people educated again. This doesn’t mean to eliminate sports and entertainment from our lives, but these pass times shouldn’t crowd out efforts at keeping informed so misinformation can be spotted and rejected.

Dr. Carson said he hated poverty.  There was a time as a child when Carson thought he might have been born in an alien civilization.  In 5th grade Ben Carson moved back to Detroit to live in tenement conditions.  Upon observing people being shot dead in his own neighborhood, Carson deduced that he might not survive long enough to become a doctor.

In attending school in Detroit, Carson was considered stupid, but he did admire the bright students who always knew the answers, wondering how they became so smart.  Carson’s mother prayed that her young sons would receive wisdom through learning.  With only a third grade education Carson’s mother couldn’t read, but the boys didn’t know this at the time.  By requiring her boys to check out two books weekly from the local library and write book reports — which she only pretended to read — Ben found knowledge that likewise enabled him to answer questions like the smart kids in his class and to likewise become smart.

It dawned on Ben that he had the brain, but that it was necessary to change his attitude.  After this revelation, Ben was no longer bothered by being poor, for he had the power to chart what course he wanted to follow in life, as we all do.

Emphasized by Dr. Carson is that we do have a chance to to change this nation.  It does takes courage to stand up for what we believe, as was displayed by patriot Nathan Hale.

During the American Revolution, before being hung by the British, Hale declared, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”  Then there was Patrick Henry who intoned these famous words:  “Give me Liberty or give me Death.”  Nor can we forget about George Washington who had the courage to fight beside his own men, always remaining untouched with enemy fire all around him.  As a courier for General Braddock in the French and Indian War, two horses were shot from underneath Washington, yet he keep on fighting.  After some time the Indians came to the conclusion that Washington couldn’t be taken down.  The Great Spirit was by his side and protecting him.

It is Dr. Carson’s conviction that God has looked out for this nation from her very beginning, that He loves this nation and allowed her to rise rapidly to reach her pinnacle of power and success.  But just as quickly we can lose our nation if we allow the progressive liberals to take over.

In observing how mild-mannered Dr. Carson is today, it was difficult to ever imagine that he had a temper problem when in high school. In a surprise revelation, Carson related how he had almost killed a fellow student by knifing him.  Fortunately for Dr. Carson the student was wearing a large brass buckle which broke Carson’s knife upon impact.  Badly shaken by what he had almost done, and realizing that he would be on his way to reform school or prison if he had been successful, Dr. Carson went into a bathroom where he prayed for three hours with Proverbs Chapter19, Verse 19-21 foremost in his mind.

A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.

Understanding came to Carson that what he had attempted to do out of anger was a sign of weakness and not strength, for no reason other than having a classmate step into his space. Upon leaving the bathroom Carson’s temper problem was no longer with him. God, in all of his wisdom and love, had banished Carson’s explosive temper forever.

Dr. Carson closed with these three thoughts:

  •  We became a great nation because values and principles were taught with the Bible serving as a guiding force.
  •  When this nation ceases to be good, it will fail.
  • We can’t be free unless we are brave, for as the final words signify in our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner:

“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Dr. Benjamin Carson has five books to his credit.  American the Beautiful:  Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great is worth purchasing as it provides inspiration and insight for leading a successful life.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: , ,

ThornerBy Nancy Thorner –

The debate over same-sex “marriage” has unfolded across America for the past several years. It’s now heating up here in Illinois. In the minds of many who ascribe to Judeo-Christian values, marriage is an institution created by God. Government cannot redefine it. Marriage exists not only for the benefit of couples but also for the care of the next generation. As such the issue of same-sex marriage must be given urgent attention here in Illinois, in spite of Illinois’s recent credit downgrade and its horrendous pension problem which seems insurmountable given that Democrats control policy here in Illinois.

It was just a little over a year ago when the Illinois created civil unions for those in same-sex relationships by passing the “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act”, forcing Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.

 Strong forces including the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House and Mayor of Chicago are at work to move a same-sex “marriage” bill through the Illinois General Assembly.  President Obama has also gotten involved by asking legislators to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

The counterfeit “marriage” bill currently being proposed in the Illinois General Assembly (HB 110 and SB 110) would change the legal definition of marriage to accommodate those of the same sex who wish to “marry” one another and would likewise affect our children and our religious freedom.

The bill is disingenuously titled the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.”  Its chief sponsors, State Representative Gregg Harris (D-Chicago) and Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) vowed and did reintroduce the bill almost immediately upon the start of the new General Assembly and are on a fast track to introduce the bill in tandem. Time ran out for Harris and Steans to bring the bill up for a full vote during the 97th General Assembly’s lame duck legislative session.

Senator Steans hopes Illinois will become the tenth state to approve the recognition of gay and lesbian marriages.  Nine state and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.  Washington, Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage ballot measures in the November elections.

Herein lies three very obvious reasons why same-sex marriage must be defeated:

1.  Same-sex couples already enjoy all the same rights and benefits as married couples in Illinois under the civil unions law of 2011.

2.  Children need both a mom and a dad.  Marriage exists for the benefit of children.  Social science research and thousands of years of history show that children do best when raised by their married mom and dad.

3.  There will be significant consequences if marriage is redefined in Illinois.  In other states that have redefined marriage, there have been profound consequences for those who express or act on their belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

The following comes from a January 6th story written by Cardinal George in the Chicago archdiocese paper, “Catholic New World”:

“The nature of marriage is not a religious question.  Marriage comes to us from nature.” . . . “The State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society.  But neither church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.  Nature and Nature’s God, to use the expression in the Declaration of Independence of our country, gives the human species two mutually complementary sexes, able to transmit life through what the law has hitherto recognized as a marital union.”

As with many bills, often what is hidden within the language of the bill does not become evident to the public (and legislators) until after the law is passed, i.e., Obamacare.  Language in the proposed marriage bill would require that all churches make their property available for same-sex “marriages” even if it is in violation of a church’s religious beliefs.  Language states that if a church allows facility rentals or receives “a public benefit” it must make its facility available for a same-sex “marriage” or the celebration thereof or be open to a lawsuit.  Understood is that every church has a tax exempt status and/or is allowed a “property tax exemption” under Illinois law, which is a “public benefit.”

The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), executive director David E. Smith, is sponsoring a Defend Marriage Lobby Day on Wednesday, February 20th from 10:30 AM – 1:30 AM. when Illinois families from around the state will take a stand “for protecting marriage, religious freedom, parental rights, and the innocence of our children!”  Suggested by David Smith is that churches organize to support this lobbying day to defend marriage.  Check this website for more information about the IFI-sponsored Defend Marriage Lobby Day.  A downloadable flyer is also available for distribution.

If you are unable to join the IFI in its Defend Marriage Lobby Day where legislators can be addressed in person, it is important to call your Illinois senate and house representatives to vote ‘NO’ to HB 110 and SB 110.

From Mark 10:6-9:

“But from the beginning of creation,
God made them male and female.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and to be joined to his wife,
and the two shall  become one flesh;
so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
let not man separate.”

Published initially at Illinois Review on Wednesday, January 30.

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.


Following Lansberry, Pastor John Kirkwood, an Advisory Board member of an IFI and host of Uncommon Sense (, 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.


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.


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.


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