11 More Furlough Days?

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

Regarding upcoming cuts in pay for our school district. The adage ‘hope for the best, plan for the worst’ is a good strategy to employ in this situation. If your current financial situation is one of living paycheck to paycheck, it would be best to get on a strict budget right now. The 4 furlough days cut about 2% of our income away this past year. That probably hurt some, but was small enough to overlook in many cases. With the prospect of another 11 furlough days next year, we had better have a plan. 11+4=15 furlough days total. That is about 8.3% of our salaries. While we aren’t supposed to need that unless the governor’s tax initiative doesn’t pass, I recommend that each of us exercise the self-discipline to live on 8.3% less from the beginning of the school year. Set aside the overage in an emergency fund. If you can, set up your budget this way by cutting back on lifestyle or selling an item on which you are now making payments. You are going to be in much better shape for the cuts next year. If the cuts don’t happen you’ll have a nice little emergency fund all ready to go. However, if the cuts do go into place you won’t be caught off guard. You can go into them with confidence—knowing you are ready. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University can help you with this.

For more particulars on our district’s situation, see the slideshow here. My apologies. Some of the shots are a little fuzzier than others.

Whether the tax initiative passes or not, decline is on the horizon for California. Our state business climate is very poor because of regulation and taxes. Private sector businesses fund the public sector. If the private sector leaves the state, school district funding will only get worse. And guess what, our governor’s little tax initiative is one more example of making government bigger, and as a result, our business climate worse. If you would like to read more on how this works visit my post about Politics as Easy as Pie. Overall, I cannot in good conscience vote yes for the governor’s tax initiative.

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The Jefferson Lies

Jefferson bible

Jefferson bible (Photo credit: naypinya)

Thomas Jefferson has been upheld as a leading founding father who was liberal and secular, advocated the strict separation of church and state, questioned the Bible, wrote his own version of the Bible, slept with his slave and fathered illegitimate children. David Barton’s new book The Jefferson Lies brings these reports about Jefferson to the table and examines them in light of Jefferson’s own writings and historical evidence. The results are eye-opening. I would like to share a brief description of these here in my blog if you would like a more detailed description I recommend purchasing the book The Jefferson Lies. You can also catch Barton’s discussion of his new book on WallBuilders Live! from the second week of May (2012).

I remember I was a teenager at church camp the first time I heard that Thomas Jefferson had created his own version of the Bible by cutting out certain parts of Scripture. This has been a little gnawing factoid in the back of my mind for three decades. Are these reports true? What did he cut out? How can Jefferson be a Christian or even have a respect for the Bible if he would cut out part of the Scripture? This kind of concern has put Jefferson in the place of the most secular founding father. But let’s look at the facts.

Jefferson created two works which are both referred to as “the Jefferson Bible”, one in 1804, the other in 1820. The first work in 1804 Jefferson created in response to a suggestion from a missionary that said in order to evangelize the Native American tribes a short work embodying the key teachings of the Gospel should be assembled. This work would be much more likely to be read by someone who is interested in the Christian faith but not ready to work their way through a 2 1/2 inch thick book. Jefferson took two copies of the Bible and went through the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and cut and pasted together a chronological version of Jesus’ life. He took the accounts from all four Gospels and put them in timeline order and eliminated accounts that were told more than once by the different gospel narratives. Jefferson called this work An Abridgment of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ. He did not call it the Jefferson Bible. He created it solely as a tool for sharing Christian teachings with Native American tribes. While some Christians might object to abridging the Scriptures, we cannot say that this was an act of offense against scriptural teaching. Rather it affirms that Jefferson believed the life and teachings of Jesus Christ to be worthy of spreading in teaching to others. This can also be supported by the fact that Jefferson on a number of occasions contributed money toward Bible societies: groups whose purpose and mission was to distribute copies of the Bible, the full Bible.
The 1820 work of Thomas Jefferson often referred to as the Jefferson Bible is actually the more common of the two. This collection of passages from the Bible distills the moral teachings of Jesus Christ into one short work that Jefferson put together based on his belief that of all the moral teachings through the centuries, the morals of Jesus Christ where the highest, best, and most likely to bring about a peaceful and prosperous society when properly adhered to. If only we would learn this lesson today.
All told, this way of treating the Bible is quite a bit different than what I was led to believe about Jefferson. I’m still inclined to believe that he was one of the more secular founding fathers. However, he seems to have had a great deal more respect for scripture than many Christians do today.
I’ll try to follow up on some of the other points about Jefferson in later posts. In regard to the Jefferson “Bible”: When did you first hear about it/them and what effect did it have on your opinion of Thomas Jefferson?

Cohabitation means Poverty for Women and Children

Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation

Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really appreciate what Robert Rector had to say in describing the problem of poverty stemming from unwed mothers, fathers, and cohabitation as opposed to marriage. The biggest factor in determining whether a child is raised in poverty or in security is whether or not the parents stay together. An intact family is a reliable determinant of being in a secure home with shelter and food and not on the public dole.

Listen to the WallBuilders Live! broadcast of his speech at the Pro-Family Legislators conference…

“We will take you to our annual ProFamily Legislators Conference, on today’s Wallbuilders Live!. Robert Rector, an authority on poverty and the welfare system, shares the great secret of child poverty. You may be surprised to learn that there are steps that can be taken to drastically reduce child poverty, yet these steps are not being taken. Why? Tune in, today, to learn more. You will hear from Rector as he addresses our legislators, and describes a link between child poverty and the declining state of marriage. This is a three part series, so be sure to catch each part, this week!” [quoted from WallBuilders Live! broadcast archives]

What is Civilization?

English: Newly enfranchised women voting in th...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently heard a presentation by Rabbi Daniel Lapin on WallBuilders Live! He spoke to the question of “What is Civilization?” Lapin asserts that the world today is engaged in a epic struggle between civilization and barbarism. Lapin claims that there is only one civilization. The society built upon the precepts in the Bible. People and society are prone to that third law of thermodynamics otherwise known as entropy. We tend to on our own go toward barbarism as a default state. Only with the civilizing influence of the Biblical principles will we rise from that barbaric inclination.

Some of the defining characteristics of civilization include: respectful treatment of women, private property rights, and sanitation practices. Only in civilized society do women have any place of respect. In barbaric society men relate to women as either hermaphrodites or callous womanizers. In civilized society we find the concept that we can purchase the rights to a particular area of land. In barbaric society we believe that we are simply advanced animals. Animals really have no sense of the ownership of property. Animals only protect their own territory but do not claim it has their own. Communism, socialism and other similar materialistic, humanistic, philosophies denying the place of private property. You can spot marks of civilization by how people deal with waste and filth. In civilization sewage is disposed of safely and properly if you visit an Occupy Wall Street encampment you will quickly see whether you are dealing with civilized people or barbarians.

If you tell legislators they can resolve all teenage problems by painting a blue spot on the left ear of all teenagers, they would implement that policy in short order. However, if you tell legislators you can eliminate virtually all teenage problems by having a strong Bible-based education, they will refuse. They would rather have the problem than that solution. In barbarism there is a primal pleasure that comes with destruction. Many who are in the Occupy Wall Street movement are participating in that wrong minded pleasure. As teachers we want to be part of building up young people and civilized society. According to Lapin (and I tend to agree) the only way to accomplish that end is with Biblically based teaching.