"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Facts Have No Feelings and Government Isn't God

The survival rate of Covid-19 is extraordinarily high. The Center for Disease Control states that if you are 70 years of age or younger, your chance of surviving after contracting Covid-19 is over 99%. If you are over 70 years of age, your chance of survival after contracting Covid-19 is over 95%. 

Those are some high rates of survival. 

Compare Covid-19 to the survival rates of various kinds of cancer

The cancers with the lowest survival estimates are mesothelioma (6.5%), pancreatic cancer (7.3%), and brain cancer (12.2%). The highest survival estimates can be seen in patients with testicular cancer (95.3%), melanoma of skin (91.3%), and thyroid cancer (87.4%). 

Let's talk about the percentage growth of deaths annually in the United States. It certainly feels as if many more people have died in the United States during 2020, especially if you listen to the evening news. However, the annual death rate in terms of percentage growth is actually less in 2020 than in the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The death rate has the same percentage growth in 2020 as in the year 2019, and only the year in the past eight years that has a lower death rate percentage increase than the year 2020 is the year 2013. 

I recently wrote about what a local funeral homeowner told me about Covid-19 deaths during the year 2020. He said: 
"We've set an all-time record in 2020 for the number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning or from damage to the liver by alcohol. Those deaths number as many as Covid-19 in 2020."

Garfield County and Enid, Oklahoma (where I live) have taken one of the least oppressive approaches to confront the Covid-19 virus in the United States. If alcohol-related deaths have set a record in our county, imagine what it must be like in other counties and states where schools are closed, businesses are shuttered, and families have lost one or both income streams. 

Michigan, which has had some of the most severe lockdown requirements in the nation, mandating masks since last spring, had the highest number of cases reported this past Thursday, 30 TIMES higher than Oklahoma which has no state-wide mandate for masks

But some cities and counties in Oklahoma do have mask mandates. Let's examine them and compare them to Enid, Oklahoma.

The Enid city council voted down mask mandates twice during the summer of 2020.  However, on July 8, Norman, Oklahoma, kicked off a series of cities in Oklahoma that imposed mask mandates. Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Altus, Anadarko, and Lawton quickly followed Norman in implementing mask mandates. Now let's look at how those cities and counties are doing compared to Enid, Oklahoma, and Garfield County. (Source: November 19, 2020, Oklahoma State Health Department Color Coded Map - see comparisons below the map)

Enid and Garfield County have 72.5 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. The cities and (counties) that have had mask mandates since July 2020 have the following rates per 100,000.

Lawton (Comanche County) - 77.00 cases per 100,000 (higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Anadarko (Caddo County) - 95.4 cases per 100,000 (much higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Oklahoma City (Oklahoma County) - 73.1 cases per 100,000 (higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Altus (Jackson County) - 134.5 cases per 100,000 (nearly 100% higher than Garfield County).
Stillwater (Payne County) - 66.0 cases per 100,000 (nearly the same as Garfield County).
Norman (Cleveland County) - 53.00 cases per 100,000 (still in the orange classification of cases).
Tulsa (Tulsa County) - 60.5 cases per 100,000 (a significantly higher number due to Tulsa's population).

The bottom line is that Enid, Oklahoma, and Garfield County are doing either comparable or BETTER than counties with mask mandates in place. Yes, cases are increases, but...

Covid-19 is spreading everywhere! There is no disputing that fact. What Oklahomans need to realize is that Covid-19 spreads equally in cities and counties that have mask mandates compared to those that don't. The statistics prove it. 

Let's look at the spike of Covid-19 cases throughout the entire nation. It will show that the "flare-ups" and "spike" in cases of Covid-19 increases do not differentiate mask-mandate and government lockdown states (like California, New York, and Michigan) compared to those states that are less oppressive and do not mandate masks or lockdowns (like Oklahoma). The source of the following information is John Hopkins University. Following the "squiggly black line" as it SPIKES - in every single state, regardless of lockdowns or mask mandates. Covid spreads uniformly across the states regardless of mandates.


But what about hospitals and hospital capacities?

Yes, hospitals are full and will continue to be full. We are in a pandemic. People are going to get sick. Some are going to die. Pray for our hospital personnel. Pray for administrators of Nursing Homes. They are on the front lines. They are worn out and tired. 

But they would be that way regardless of mandates, lockdowns, and government control. Pandemics have occurred throughout human history. We are in the middle of one.

"So what's your point, Pastor Wade?"

A recent editorial in our local paper asked the question:

"If Christ walked into a packed sanctuary on Sunday morning, with nary a mask to be seen, in the middle of a deadly pandemic — what would Christ have to say to that pastor? What would Christ have to say about the Church’s silence — or worse, its complicity — in the face of a government that allows so many to needlessly die?"

 Here's what I (Wade Burleson) believe Christ would say to me:

  • Keep on pointing people to Me, the Author of life, and the One who holds "the keys of life and death."
  • Keep on encouraging people to get on with their lives and to break free from the bondage of fearing death.  
  • Keep on reminding people that I, the LORD, will sometimes use a pandemic to humble proud nations.
  • Keep on speaking the truth that to know Me makes the "day of death better than the day of birth" (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
  • Keep on delivering food to the sick, housing the homeless, providing refuge for the abused, and doing your part to be a good neighbor, but do nothing to enable people to trust in themselves or in government more than they do me. 
  • Keep on making worship of Me central to life. 
  • Keep on loving Me and what I say more than you love the praise of man.

Keep on.

Enid, Oklahoma, is a great place to live. Our tax revenue is up compared to other cities. We have new businesses opening. Our Mayor and City Council have given the freedom to individuals to make personal choices about their health and the prevention of disease that they deem best.

Enid's a great place to live during a pandemic because of our old-fashioned values of faith in God, respect for human life, love for individual liberty, and the freedom to pursue the course of living that we believe best leads to our happiness.

Let's keep it that way. Practice personal hygiene. Get some exercise. Always have respect for another person's personal space. Wear a mask if you desire. Stay home if you are sick or susceptible to disease.

But trust the people around you to make the best choices for their health, and most of all, trust God for the ultimate care of your soul, body, and business.

We'll get through this together without government mandates.

Persuade people of what you believe to be true. Respect those who disagree. But if you give in to government mandates on masks, you'll soon be asked to give in to government mandates in vaccinations. And once you give in to government mandates on vaccinations, you'll have to give in to government mandates for health verification via electronic control of driver's licenses and passports ("Do you have your vaccination?).

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "In this present crisis, the government is not the solution to our problem, for government IS the problem. It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so.”

The Scientific Red Badge of Courage Is to Resist Mask Conformity and Respect Individual Liberty

I lost a friend to death last night. He died with Covid-19.

He'd been careful. His health had been compromised by cancer. He wore a mask, he washed his hands, he kept his social distance. Yet he caught Covid-19. My friend died while on a vent fighting the disease. 

I have two close family members who have been very sick with Covid-19, two people for whom I care a great deal. I check on them almost every day because they are more vulnerable to this disease than most. 

I've had Covid-19. My wife has had Covid-19. A couple of my kids have had Covid-19. I most likely know more people who have died from Covid-19 than you. I officiate funerals. I visit the sick and the vulnerable. 

I do not dispute that Covid-19 is more contagious and spreads easier than the flu. If I go into a hospital or nursing home to see people who are sick or vulnerable, I will always wear a mask, without fail, out of respect for that establishment's policies. 

But I do not wear a mask any other time or in any other place for scientific reasons.

If I go into a store to purchase items and discover that the store mandates a mask, I will respectfully and quietly leave. If I choose to eat in a restaurant that mandates a mask as I walk to the table, I will politely turn around and walk out. Politeness, courtesy, friendliness, and respect is never an option for me. It's part of my Christian character.

But I refuse to submit to any mask mandate because I agree with the science and the randomized scientific studies that say mask mandates are ineffective. Even if the majority of Americans disagree with me, I will follow my rational, logical, and scientific conclusions that lead me to oppose mask mandates. In America, we cherish and thrive on individual liberty and resist the tyranny of the majority.

But forget liberty for a moment and focus with me on the science

The Annals of Internal Medicine published this week the only Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2. 

Read it for yourself. This scientific study, the only randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of mask mandates in the world, concluded:
(A) recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.

I believe this scientific study. I don't demand that you agree with it, nor do I disrespect you for disagreeing with it. 

I'm just politely informing you that I can think, act, and choose for myself. 

When I am forced to believe in something that I don't believe in, or when I am mandated to do something I don't think I ought to do, or when I am compelled by force to act in a manner that violates my conscience, then I am living in Nineteen Eighty-Four and not 2020. 

I visited with a young lady this morning over the phone who told me she did not think highly of me or the church where I serve because I do not demand or force people to wear masks when they come to worship services and I have publicly said I never will. She told me "I'm hesitant to tell you this and so I'm asking for grace from you, but I don't like you being vocal about your belief that mask mandates are not effective." 

I was extremely polite, thanked the woman for her courage to speak her convictions to me, and then showed her as much grace as God has shown me. I explained that I am convinced by the science that mask mandates are not effective, irrespective of anyone's emotions. Facts have no feelings for me. People will get Covid-19, even those who wear masks all the time, because the disease spreads so easily, even through the eyes. 

However, I respect other people so much that if they reach a different conclusion than I on the science of mask mandates, I will never reach out and force them to remove their mask. 

And if they wish to keep their distance from me, I will never forcibly violate their boundaries and embrace them.

More importantly, if they own or operate a restaurant or business where they demand behavioral conformity from me on their beliefs, I will respect them so much that I will politely and graciously leave without spending any money or I will put a mask on and shop! 

Freedom. Respect. Love. That's how I roll.

Earlier this fall, two leading scientists behind the Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 were asked by a reporter why the results of this unique and significant study were taking so long to be published. The statistical analysis of the effectiveness of mask mandates had been completed by the summer of 2020. Dr. Christian Torp-Pedersen confirmed what his fellow scientist told the reporter:
"The results will be published as soon as a journal is brave enough."
It takes courage to believe in science that says something different than what the majority believe. But I will follow the science, and if the science ever convinces me differently, I will change my behavior voluntarily. 

It seems to me mask mandates are about social conformity more than scientific clarity. 

So I will put a mask on my face when convinced by scientific reasons, not your emotional discomfort, for it is my face and not yours. If you tell me that I'm putting your life in danger, I will politely tell you that I don't agree with the science behind your statement and bow out of our conversation, with the utmost respect.

Respectful persuasion and voluntary behavior is the American way. That's the definition of liberty. Social conformity via big brother tyranny is the essence of socialism, an "ism" I want no part of in my life. 

I close with something a good friend of mine told me this past Sunday. He owns a funeral home. I inquired about Covid-19 deaths in our county. "Are you overwhelmed?" I asked. 

He told me that his funeral home was busy but then he gave me this startling fact:
"We've set an all-time record in 2020 for the number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning or from damage to the liver by alcohol. Those deaths number as many as Covid-19 in 2020."

I would encourage everyone to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Take your precautions. Wear a mask if you feel led by science to do so. Wash your hands. Isolate yourself if sick.

My heart goes out to all those sick with Covid-19, including my family members. 

But don't confuse a pandemic with panic, don't cease living because of your fear of dying, and most of all, display some courage in the face of those who demand conformity. 

"Who Am I To Judge?" Must Be Fully Answered Before We Prevent Horrible Abuses In This World

 A man raped four women in a prison for women, all because people refused to make a judgment about this man's claim that he was a woman. 

Last fall, another so-called transgendered man, obviously male to anyone who sees him, was allowed to enter the women's sleeping section of a homeless shelter. He later bragged about sexually violating multiple women over several nights at the shelter. These horrible abuses occurred because the shelter directors refused to judge the man's claims that he was a woman

Last week, the Roman Catholic Church defrocked and excommunicated a Catholic priest named Theodore McCarrick. Mr. McCarrick was an openly gay priest of whom the Pope France once said, "Who am I to judge?" in defense of McCarrick's position  of service as Bishop of Washington, an appointment that violated historic Roman Catholic practice and doctrine. Sadly, had the Pope made a judgment about Theodore McCarrick's sexual proclivities, hundreds of little boys would have not been abused during his tenure. 

Yesterday, Dr. Al Mohler, wrote a brilliant piece entitled An Insidious Threat to Religious Institutions of Higher Learning: The Human Rights Campaign Gives Its List of Demands for a Biden Administration. The Biden administration has avowed to promote LGBQT rights, and Dr. Mohler writes:
There is now an open demand for the Biden administration to deny accreditation, or at least to facilitate the denial of accreditation, to Christian institutions, Christian colleges and universities, but also beyond Christian, other religious institutions and schools to deny accreditation if those schools do not meet the non-discrimination demands of the LGBTQ community. 

That means any Christian university making moral judgments that lesbianism, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, transgenderism, or queerness are transgressions against God will lose its accreditation if the LGBTQ community gets its way in a Biden administration. Dr. Mohler calls this "the greatest threat against religious liberty in the history of America."

Think with me for a moment. 

Those who wish to censor a person for making a moral judgment about someone else is actually making a moral judgment about the person they wish to censor?

Do you see the irony?

I believe people should be free to make a moral judgments about me. They should be free to say I'm prejudiced, or that I'm homophobic, or that I'm a religious nut. That's their right, and I will fight for their freedom to make that judgment.

Just don't tell Christians to be quiet or attempt to forbid us by law from making moral judgments about others. The prophets of ancient Israel were stoned for the words they spoke because the people didn't wish to hear them. I will keep speaking about America's sins against God, even while the stones are being thrown. You may hate and despise what you hear. You may not like that I believe God gives to each of us a moral code, a code written in our hearts and expressed in His Word,  and that those apart from Christ will one day answer to God for the lack of obedience to His moral law.  But I will fight for the freedom of your expression, the freedom of practicing your non-religion, the freedom of your speech, and for your freedom to disagree.

That said, any demand you make of me or other Christians through the "Don't you dare judge!" movement represents the real danger we face in America.  It is the freedom and ability to make moral judgments and to direct proper behavior that makes this country such a great place to live.  

"Who am I to judge?"

I'll tell you. 

I'm a person created in the image of God and I've been called to maintain an awareness that my Creator requires me to make moral judgments every day. If we don't involve ourselves in making moral judgments, we turn this world over to human abuses.

Everyone makes judgments. Everyone judges. Everyone.

The proper question is, "What's the standard?"

At least in America, it's the Judeo-Christian standard of morality, and the people better rise up and resist the tyranny of conformity demanded by the immoral and the godless.

Lift Your Eyes to the LORD from Where Your Help Comes and Don't Trust in Politics or the President

I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe in it because American immigrants tell me it is real. People from all over the world will do everything in their power to come to America. 

Our nation represents liberty in a world of tyranny, the bright light of free capitalism among governments sustained by forced collectivism, and the ability for every individual - no matter his background - to make dreams a reality.

Yes, I believe in the American dream. America is the land of opportunity. Our nation shines for freedom in a world built on bondage. I am proud of American history and will always participate in America's political processes.

But my trust is in the LORD. 

I have been shocked at the number of my politically conservative Christian friends who are beyond distraught over a potential change coming in the White House. It's almost as shocking as my liberal political Christian friends during the past four years ending long-lasting Christian friendships because they didn't affirm the sitting President or wish to associate with those who did.

If our trust is in President Donald Trump or in President Joe Biden to the neglect of trust in the LORD, then it could be that the LORD Himself is destroying American exceptionalism. 

What do I mean? 

I mean that the LORD may make your American supermarkets be empty one day, no longer having aisles stocked with 17 different varieties of cheeses, but having government cheese delivered to your porch. I mean that you may wake up one day and all your savings accounts are digitally empty because the government has collected them in order to re-issue another form of currency. I mean that you may find your hospital unable to care for sick people because there are not enough doctors and nurses to care for the sick. I mean that the United States' economy may be in such a Great Depression during the 2020s that the 1930s Great Depression looks like an economic boom. I mean that you may lose your house, your cars, your job, your security.

For people who don't read their Bible, it may come as a shock that the LORD is the One who brings down nations that are filled with people who trust in themselves or their governments and not in Him.

Nations rise and fall, but the Kingdom of the LORD reigns forever

Read Psalm 118.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes (e.g. politics).

14 The Lord is my strength and my song.
He has become my salvation.

17 I will not die but live, 
 and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

has become the cornerstone (of my life);

26 Blessed is he trusts in the name of the LORD.

Do yourself a favor. Participate in American politics, but don't trust in American politics. 

"Lift your eyes to the hills from where your help comes; your help comes from the LORD." (Psalm 121:1-2)

The Source of Social Decay Is Personal Preferences (No Morals) Becoming Cultural Customs (Mores)

The word "moral" and the word "mores" both come from the same Latin root word "mos"

The Latin word mos means "the behavior, principles, or character expressed by a person."

Morals are the principles of an individual person that either restrict or permit certain behaviors. 

A man or woman without morals (principles) will do as he or she prefers or pleases.

When a group of individuals in specific societies lack morals, then the cultural mores will reflect the individual preferences of people. The English word mores means "the customs, characteristics, or essential conduct of a community." The phrase "social norms" would be a synonym for mores.

American culture has changed its "social norms" during the past 40 years.

Prior to 1980, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity was outlawed by almost every state in the union. As recently as 1986, the United States Supreme Court upheld state sodomy laws. In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the United States Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's law against sodomy, even if the sexual act of sodomy occurred in the privacy of one's home, was a just moral code for American society. 

Michael Hardwick, the young man caught in the act of sodomy by the Georgia police officer, asserted to the Court that a law must have a rational basis for its existence and that there is none for the Georgia statute against sodomy except for "the public’s view that homosexuality is immoral and unacceptable." He asked that the court give him "Due Process" and protect him from the sodomy law that has no rational basis.

The Supreme Court disagreed with Michael Hardwick. In their 1986 ruling, the Supreme Court stated “The law…is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed."

The Supreme Court basically told Michael Hardwick that the law he violated by performing the act of sodomy was a law based on "a notion of morality" that cannot be invalidated by one's personal preferences.

In other words, sodomy violated the moral code of Nature and Nature's God. Moral principles by definition come from a Source outside of one's individual preferences. The Supreme Court understood t
that the individual is obligated to submit to a moral principle from a Source higher than self.

My, how times have changed.

Forty years ago the American culture, courts, and churches all believed that God established the proper boundaries for human behavior, and all human beings stand obligated to live their lives in accordance with His commands. 

Not anymore. 

It is now possible in the United States to call a man a woman and a woman a man. It is now possible in the United States for two men to marry or two women to marry. It is now possible in the United States to steal from others because you've been victimized by an oppressive moral code and deserve to take from those who've oppressed you.

The culture has changed because individuals are lost and the church is more interested in tickling listening ears than teaching living Truth.

The only thing that will save America is a revival - a true revival - of repentance toward God and away from self-absorption. It will require a Great Awakening in our society and a Great Revival in our churches. 

I don't fault society for the crisis we are now facing in America. 

I fault the churches. We've stopped teaching the Scriptures. We've stopped preparing our young people to answer the agnostics and atheists who believe in no moral code and mock those who do. We've paid more attention to our comforts at home than our commission to go into the world to make disciples of Christ in every nation. 

God seems to be bringing down the tall tree called "proud" America. The good news is that the God of all the nations always brings hope after despair, restoration after destruction, exaltation after humbling. 

The answer to the problem in America isn't politics. 

The answer is returning to the principles of God's Word as the basis for our social norms. 

And God can (and will) bring this about, but it will involve a great deal of pain before it occurs. 

The Worst Kind of Slavery Is the Fear of Death

"Jesus died that He might...free those who all their lives have been 
held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14-15.

2020 has brought to the surface of our culture the greatest kind of slavery mankind faces.

It is the fear of dying. 

It used to be that Americans shared a common consensus about Divine things. We uniformly believed in a personal God who created the universe. We believed that this Creator gave life to us and that after we died, each of us would return to our Creator where we would give an account for our lives. 

Belief in God and the afterlife was something held in common by all Americans. 

But no longer is there any consensus. 

Americans find nothing odd about being at a dinner where table guests are just as likely to be atheists or agnostics as they are believers in God. Some might claim belief in eastern mystic gods or New Age principles that exalt man as god. But for sure, there is no common consensus about God.

There's an old saying that goes like this:
"In essential things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity."
If there is no unity in culture over the essentials of the faith, then there is essential disunity in culture over the fear of dying. 

America is in national enslavement to the fear of death. THIS life becomes all-encompassing to Americans, with little or no thought of the next life. Enslavement to the fear of death is felt in the heart of individuals but noticed in the practices of our culture.

For example,  "the fear of death" means...

1. You worship youthfulness or looking young.
2. You obsess over technology to conquer time and speed through tasks.
3. You have anxiety over your personal health.
4. You blame other people for your health or lack of it.
5. You esteem men and women in white coats (science or medicine). 
6. You fear growing old and dying. 
7. You seek escapism from having to contemplate the reality of dying.

But when Jesus frees you from the fear of death things begin to change.

1. You embrace and esteem old age and the wisdom of life's experiences that come with it.
2. You are able to "unplug" from technology and engage with others, being present with them.
3. You are not anxious about your health or impending death but you enjoy today's small moments of life. 
4. You take ownership of your health and refuse to blame others if it fails.
5. You respect science and medicine, but they don't rule over you because you take ownership of the way you live and die and science and medicine serve you and not the other way around.
6. You have no fear of growing old or dying.
7. You contemplate and meditate daily on your mortality and the eternality of your existence.

Remember this truth when it comes to surrendering your life to Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior:
It is difficult to fear death if you are a Christian.  However,  it is difficult not to worship health if you fear death. 
Since America as a whole seems enslaved to the fear of death, then national health to live this life without dying becomes our national god. 

As Austrian philosopher  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in the 1970s:
"It is difficult to enforce general health without large-scale state intervention and it is equally difficult to imagine increased state intervention without a loss of liberties."                   (Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Menace of the Herd or Procrustes at Large. Kindle Edition).

God gives us life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness.  We will return to Him to give an account of how we lived this life.  If you don't believe in God, then you can't believe that other people have inalienable rights, and so you can expect they do what you demand to help keep you alive. 

America needs a revival of faith in God before the worship of science destroys the lives we are living through our enslavement to the fear of dying.

Democracy Is a Curse and a Republic Is the Cure

Demos is the Greek word for "people" and cratos is the Greek word for "power."

For the United States to become ruled by a majority opinion of the people rather than the Constitution and its stated objective to protect inalienable rights - rights that are granted and guaranteed to every individual by God, not the government - was the greatest fear of our Founding Fathers. 

The way the Founders thought regarding democracy is completely foreign to most Americans today. When I explained the dangers of democracy from the Founding Father's perspective on my Facebook page this week, I literally had a man curse the Founders (and me) using the most vulgar language possible. 

The only thing truly cursed, however, is pure democracy. And the only cure is a representative Republic. The Constitution of the United States - and full adherence to it - is the only thing that protects liberty from disappearing in the United States. 

If you are feeling more oppressed today than ever as an American citizen, it is no accident. 

Democracy is the worst form of tyranny. The majority can oppress, shame, denigrate, and restrict any minority they choose, whether it be religious, intellectual, cultural, or political.

The Republic of the United States is a nation where the Constitution guarantees liberty for all people - even those in the minority - and it is the best form of government. Read carefully what Founding Fathers Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton wrote about the dangers of democracy:
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49.” Thomas Jefferson

"Democracies ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” James Madison

"Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments, If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy or some other form of a dictatorship.” Alexandar Hamilton

 The Founding Fathers were very intentional in setting up a Republic, not a democracy.

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands..."

The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College to ensure that an individual elected to the presidency doesn’t only have the support of the population-heavy coasts, but broad support throughout the entire country. 

The Electoral College is hated by a majority when their candidate is not elected because they don't understand the dangers of majority rule like our Founders did.

The Founding Fathers went further in their protection against democracy by establishing the United States Senate to reflect non-democratic ideas.  Each state is represented equally in the Senate, irrespective of population, size, or prestige in order to place in check democratic extremes.  

Pure democracy, the Founders believed, must be avoided like the plague. 

The establishment of the Supreme Court is the best example of the Founding Father's fear of democracy.

The Supreme Court is the least democratic institution of all. The court’s members are given lifetime appointments by presidents elected via the Electoral College, subject to no democratic oversight or elections. Justices are called upon to decide cases and controversies according to what the law demands, not according to their personal preferences or the passions and prejudices of the electorate.

The desire to "pack the Court" to more reflect "the will of the people" will be the downfall of the Republic. It will be come the final nail in the coffin for the downfall of the Republic and the rise of dangerous democracy. 

Abraham Lincoln gave an 1856 speech: and said:
“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.”

It is interesting to note that Communists worldwide have dropped the term "communism" in favor of its perfect synonym - democracy. 

Aristotle first pointed out how democracy - the power of the majority - leads to tyranny. "It is just as easy," said Aristotle, "for a majority to become a despot as it is for a monarch to become a tyrant. Further, it is possible for a tyrant to be benevolent (good) and for democratic despotism to be malevolent (evil). "

Evil has arrived in America. 

Plato believed the general populace to be "shiftless and flighty".
"Sometimes he drinks heavily while listening to the flute; at other times, he drinks only water and is on a diet; sometimes he goes in for physical training; at other times, he’s idle and neglects everything; and sometimes he even occupies himself with what he takes to be philosophy."
But what about "All men are created equal"? Does that not mean that majority should always rule over the minority? 

No. Not at all.
"To understand the statement of the Founding Fathers that all men are “created equal” we must look at it in the light of their own daily practice, which was worlds removed from the equality postulated by the French Revolution. They were as a body, believing men. Human equality consisted for them in the creation of all men by God, their equal redemption and final judgment, together with the consequent dignity of the human person and the rights assured to individuals and families by the natural law. But as for human society itself, they frankly recognized it as composed of unequal elements and sought their political solution in a Representative Republic. It is that form of government which still remains to us, despite the persistent efforts of those who have been carrying on the termite work of weakening its wisely planned and powerful supports. Under such circumstances there is need of watchfulness and enlightened patriotism."(Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Erik. Menace of the Herd or Procrustes at Large . Ludwig von Mises Institute. Kindle Edition).

What is at stake this Tuesday in our election? 

The Supreme Court.

The Constitution. 

The Electoral College.

The future of America. 

The Tyranny of the Culture vs. the Liberty of the Constitution.

The Republic itself. 

I Vote for the Platform that Respects God-Given Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Private Property

I am a liberal. 

At least that's what some of the leaders of the Christian denomination to which I belong say about me. 

They say that I am a liberal. But as is the case with every obloquy, context is everything. 

I believe in the veracity (truthfulness) of the Bible.

Because of my trust in Scripture, I believe in the equality of men and women. I believe the Bible teaches that leadership in the church and society should be based on character and gifting and not color or gender. I believe that every human being is created in the image of God and there is only one race - the human race - and the color of one's skin never defines the worth of one's soul. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

If that is a liberal, then I welcome the label.

But now I will explain to you why I will be voting for the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

This post will upset my political liberal friends, but I only wish for them to see that this 2020 election is an issue of morality for me. As a Christian pastor, I am obligated to speak on issues of morality.

I will vote for the platform of a party, not the Presidential candidate of a party. 

The Republican Platform protects life

"We oppose the use of public funds to promote abortion or to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare." (p. 13)

The Democratic Platform promotes death:

"We believe every woman should be able to access... safe and legal abortion." (p. 42) 

The Republican Platform protects liberty:

"Every violation of state sovereignty by federal officials is not merely a transgression of one unit of government against another, it is an assault on the liberties of individual Americans." (p. 15). 

The Democratic Platform promotes tyranny:

"Democrats will act swiftly to stand up a comprehensive, national public health surveillance program for COVID-19 and future infectious diseases. We will recruit at least 100,000 contact tracers with support from trusted local organizations in the communities most at risk to help state and local health departments use culturally competent approaches to identify people at risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus." (p. 10). 

 The Republican Platform promotes capitalism:

"A central reason why the 20th century came to be called the American Century was the ability of individuals to invent and create in a land of free markets. Back then they were called risk-takers, dreamers, and small business owners. Their enterprise is the lifeblood of our economy." (p. 6)

The Democratic Platform promotes socialism

"Our economy was rigged against working families and the middle class even before the novel coronavirus sickened millions and killed more than 150,000 Americans and counting. Working families’ incomes have been largely stagnant for decades, while the cost of basic needs—from housing to health care, higher education to child care—keep rising at precipitous rates. Meanwhile, the rich have been capturing a larger and larger share of the economic pie... That is why Democrats commit to forging a new social and economic contract with the American people—a contract that invests in the people and promotes shared prosperity." (pgs. 13-14).

For all of you who wonder how a so-called "liberal" Christian can vote for the Presidential candidate of the Republican party, I'm giving you the answer.

I pay attention to the principles of the platform upon which the different Presidential candidate stands. 

To me, this election is a moral issue. 

God, the Creator of mankind, gives to us certain "unalienable rights," and any political platform that takes away "life," "liberty," or the "pursuit of property (happiness)" is attempting to steal only what God can bestow. 

To all my millennial friends out there, take this post as a fair warning. 

When you forget that unalienable rights are bestowed by the Creator and not the government, when you start stealing what is not yours, when you take the lives of human beings that you didn't create, and when you demand conformity of all people rather than giving liberty to each individual, then you've begun betraying the principles upon which America was founded. 

That's why this liberal will always vote for a platform, not a candidate. 

The rule of law and government by Judeo-Christian principles is the American way. An immoral society will lead to immoral behavior. I'll not vote for an immoral platform. 

The ultimate end of socialism

Leftism/Nazism: The Sacred Principle of Sameness

Political leftism destroys personal liberty. How is that possible, you ask? do you believe that leftism/liberalism gives more freedom, not less? 

You are mistaken. Here's why. 

The sacred principle of sameness is the standard of leftism.

For example, the Nazis of Germany during World War II were socialists. Leftism was their political philosophy. Some cannot comprehend how Nazism (The National Socialist German Workers' Party) was leftism on parade. In fact, liberals today do everything in their power to convince you that Nazism isn't socialism, a position that is in complete denial of the Nazi name and platform. The Nazi platform stated:
"We demand that the State shall make its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) must be deported
LEFTISM is a book written by Dr. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999). Erik was a polymath intellectual and the leading historian on the Nazis. Take the time to read, digest, and comprehend the following concise summary of Dr. Kuehnelt-Leddihn's position. Your personal liberty is at stake:
"When a government demands identically dressed men or women carry out identical movements, the nation gives the overpowering impression of homogeneity, synchronization, symmetry, and uniformity.
Thus, a leftist identity movement tends toward the effacement of self (e.g. "the individual") and towards nostrism (e.g. "USness"). In nostrism, the individual becomes submerged in the whole. "We're all in this together."

Nostrism was the term created by the Austrian Nazi Walter Pembaur (1886-1948). The Nazis used nostrism in a clever way. 'Whoever praises and extolls the collective unit in which he participates (the German nation, the Aryian race, the working class, the Nazi party) only praises himself."

The nonconforming person or group who sins against the SACRED PRINCIPLE of SAMENESS will always be treated as a traitor, and if he is not a traitor the envious majority will push him in that direction through social shaming. All leftist identity movements take a stand for sameness and oppose otherness. All modern liberal trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.

To the simple-minded, identical laws, identical measurements, an identical language, an identical currency, an identical education, an identical political power ("one-man-one-vote"), identical pay rates, an identical intellectual level, and identical clothes (or coverings) seem highly desirable. It simplifies matters. It is cheaper. It saves thinking. To certain minds it even seems 'more just.'"

Political leftism destroys personal liberty. I would thoroughly subscribe to the words of Alexis de Tocqueville when he wrote, "Despotism appears to me particularly to be dreaded in democratic ages. I think that I would have loved liberty at all times, but in the present age I am ready to worship it."

Good Deeds May Be Repaid with Evil in This Life

A Doolittle Raider headed to Tokyo, Japan
I am researching the life of John Birch, a Baptist missionary in China who was assassinated by communists on August 25, 1945, just days after the end of World War II. Some call Birch the first victim of the impending World War III

During my research, I discovered that Birch providentially met Lt. Col. James Doolittle on April 20, 1942, in China as the Doolittle Raiders attempted to escape Japanese-occupied China after crash landing their planes there on April 18, 1942. Col. Doolittle and his men had bombed Tokyo, the capital of the Japanese Empire, in retaliation for the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The improbable mission called Target Tokyo launched just a little over four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Raiders devasted Tokyo with their bombing run, and the Japanese became shocked and frightened that American B-25 bombers (sixteen of them) could reach Tokyo and bomb the city. It was a major victory for the American armed forces and it rallied the American people back home.

There were eighty Doolittle Raiders. All of them volunteered for the mission and knew that they did not carry enough fuel to return to the carriers from which they launched. They flew into the mission knowing they would have to crash land in China and somehow to make their way out, finding assistance from the Chinese people who did not like their Japanese invaders. \

Doolittle Raiders assisted by the Chinese

The Chinese people did help the American airmen.

They hid them in their homes. They fed them. They passed word ahead to family members in other Chinese villages that the Americans were coming. The Chinese were the ones who found John Birch and brought him to Doolittle. Birch served as an interpreter for the American soldiers until they safely exited Japanese-held territory. 

But the Chinese people paid dearly for their good deeds. 

James M. Scott, in his superb 2016 book Target Tokyo, highlights what the Japanese soldiers did to the Chinese people - men, women, and children - who assisted Doolittle and his men escape.

The Japanese marched into the walled city of Nancheng at dawn on the morning of June 11, beginning a reign of terror so horrendous that missionaries would later dub it “the Rape of Nancheng.” Soldiers rounded up 800 women and herded them into a storehouse outside the east gate. “For one month the Japanese remained in Nancheng, roaming the rubble-filled streets in loin clothes much of the time, drunk a good part of the time and always on the lookout for women,” wrote the Reverend Frederick McGuire. “The women and children who did not escape from Nancheng will long remember the Japanese—the women and girls because they were raped time after time by Japan’s imperial troops and are now ravaged by venereal disease, the children because they mourn their fathers who were slain in cold blood for the sake of the ‘new order’ in East Asia.”

At the end of the occupation, Japanese forces systematically destroyed the city of 50,000 residents. Teams stripped Nancheng of all radios, while others looted the hospitals of drugs and surgical instruments. Engineers not only wrecked the electrical plant but pulled up the railroad lines, shipping the iron out. A special incendiary squad started its operation on July 7 in the city’s southern section. “This planned burning was carried on for three days,” one Chinese newspaper reported, “and the city of Nancheng became charred earth.”

Over the summer, the Japanese laid waste to some 20,000 square miles. They looted towns and villages, then stole honey and scattered beehives. Soldiers devoured, drove away, or simply slaughtered thousands of oxen, pigs, and other farm animals; some wrecked vital irrigation systems and set crops on fire. They destroyed bridges, roads, and airfields. "Like a swarm of locusts, they left behind nothing but destruction and chaos,” wrote one eyewitness.

Those discovered to have helped the Doolittle raiders were tortured. In Nancheng, soldiers forced a group of men who had fed the airmen to eat feces before lining up ten of them for a “bullet contest” to see how many people a single bullet would pass through before it stopped. In Ihwang, Ma Eng-lin, who had welcomed injured pilot Harold Watson into his home, was wrapped in a blanket, tied to a chair and soaked in kerosene. Then soldiers forced his wife to torch him.

“Little did the Doolittle men realize,” the Reverend Charles Meeus later wrote, “that those same little gifts which they gave their rescuers in grateful acknowledgement of their hospitality— parachutes, gloves, nickels, dimes, cigarette packages—would, a few weeks later, become the telltale evidence of their presence and lead to the torture and death of their friends!”

Japan’s secret bacteriological warfare group, Unit 731, launched an operation to coincide with the withdrawal of Japanese troops from the region.

In what was known as land bacterial sabotage, troops would contaminate wells, rivers, and fields, hoping to sicken local villagers as well as the Chinese forces, which would no doubt move back in and reoccupy the border region as soon as the Japanese departed. Over the course of several meetings, Unit 731’s commanding officers debated the best bacteria to use, settling on plague, anthrax, cholera, typhoid, and paratyphoid, all of which would be spread via spray, fleas, and direct contamination of water sources. For the operation, almost 300 pounds of paratyphoid and anthrax germs were ordered.

Technicians filled peptone bottles with typhoid and paratyphoid bacteria, packaged them in boxes labeled “Water Supply,” and flew them to Nanking. Once in Nanking, workers transferred the bacteria to metal flasks—like those used for drinking water— and flew them into the target areas. Troops then tossed the flasks into wells, marshes, and homes. The Japanese also prepared 3,000 rolls, contaminated with typhoid and paratyphoid, and handed them to hungry Chinese prisoners of war, who were then released to go home and spread disease. Soldiers left another 400 biscuits infected with typhoid near fences, under trees, and around bivouac areas to make it appear as though retreating forces had left them behind, knowing hungry locals would devour them.

“After they had been caught unawares by the falling of American bombs on Tokyo, Japanese troops attacked the coastal areas of China, where many of the American fliers had landed,” Chiang Ka-Shek cabled to Washington. “These Japanese troops slaughtered every man, woman and child in those areas. Let me repeat—these Japanese troops slaughtered every man, woman and child in those areas.”

“They shot any man, woman, child, cow, hog, or just about anything that moved, They raped any woman from the ages of 10 – 65, and before burning the town they thoroughly looted it. None of the humans shot were buried either, but were left to lay on the ground to rot, along with the hogs and cows.”

It is estimated the Japanese soldiers killed between 250,000 to 500,000 Chinese in retaliation for the good deeds the Chinese gave the American Doolittle Raiders.
The story of the Chinese people and the Doolittle Raiders is a reminder to us all that doing what is right and honorable is often repaid with evil in this life. 

Do what you do in this life not because of the rewards you might receive while alive, but in anticipation of meeting the Creator who is by His very nature righteous and compassionate.

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Help Tim Price Publish The Original Pilgrim Book

Only one life, twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 

Pilgrim Painting by Mike Wimmer
Charles Studd (1860-1931),
 the author of the couplet above and a man best known as C.T. Studd, was the son of a wealthy English merchantman. Charles' father came to know Christ during a Dwight Moody evangelism crusade in London, and soon the entire Studd family became followers of Jesus.

C.T. Studd used income from his family business to fund his work as a Christian missionary to China. He later founded Heart of Africa Missions, which now operates under the name Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ (WEC International).  C.T. Studd knew that a life well spent meant sharing Christ with intent. 

In 2020, you have an opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through a book being published in America by my friend, author Tim Price. That book is entitled The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart.

Typically, authors earn their money from "royalties" or "advances." Tim, an author and a publisher himself, needs our financial help to get this book published because of two important reasons: 
1. Tim has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Tim had to quit his job because of the diagnosis, relocate to be near his adult children in western Nebraska. Tim is now working from his home to finish this project. He is doing great mentally and physically at this time, but the future is unknown to all but God. Publishers won't risk an advance. But people of faith will. use their resources to advance the Kingdom.  Tim has finished the manuscript in preparation to publish The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart. He is now working on the artwork.  If you could help Tim with a donation to his Go-Fund-Me account, you will be playing a significant role in the Kingdom's advancement in English-speaking countries as I will explain in a moment.  Tim is committed to recognize those who financially help him with this project. Again, any donation, no matter the amount - small or large - is an advancement of Christ's Kingdom because....
2. The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart is the Original Pilgrim story. Originally written in 1622 by John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) in Comenius' native Czech language, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart remains the most read book in Czech literature to this day. Many people, including me, believe this book inspired  John Bunyan's 1678 classic The Pilgrim's Progress.  In the new Moravian Public Libraray in Brno, Czech Republic, a stone relief of The Labryinth of the World welcomes those who enter. 
The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegorical story of a Pilgrim on his sojourn through the world and how Pilgrim finally discovers how "the burden" on his shoulders (sin) can be removed by Christ. The nuggets of wisdom by John Bunyan found in Pilgrim's Progress include statements like, "What God says is best, is best, though all the men in the world are against it." 

The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) wrote in his commentary on The Pilgrim's Progress, “Next to the Bible, the book I value most is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I believe I have read it through at least a hundred times. It is a volume of which I never seem to tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures.” Spurgeon wrote he loved Bunyan because Bunyan bled Bible.

John Amos Comenius' The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart is even better than The Pilgrim's Progress. Comenius' work has lagged in popularity among English-speaking peoples behind The Pilgrim's Progress because Bunyan wrote his allegory in English and Comenius' wrote his original pilgrim story in Czech and pictorial illustrations in Comenius' work were absent. 

Tim Price is solving that problem. He is updating The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart into a better English version and adding vivid illustrations to the book. And you can be a part of Tim's effort to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ through allegory. 

Go to OriginalPilgrim.Com to help. 

In this video below, I tell you a little more about Tim and the project.

In this next video, Tim gives information about the various reward levels for donations to this project.

In this video, Tim explains how he became interested in this project.

Thank you, friends, for your consideration. 


The True Size of the USA Is Smaller Than We Think

Below is a map of the United States superimposed over Africa. The website True Size allows you to move countries and position them over other countries (or continents) to see the true geographical size of nations.

One of the dangers of self-absorption is the inflated view of oneself and the inability to see reality objectively. The United States has a self-absorbed culture. This little map might humble us enough to see that we Americans don't wear as big of britches on the world stage as we might think.
"I the LORD bring down the tall tree and I exalt the low tree." (Ezekiel 17:24).

Trees are often used as metaphors of people in Scripture. God's purpose for the people of any nation is to humble them so that they will trust in Him and not their industry, their money, or their power.  Let's keep our perspective. The world doesn't revolve around us, but the world does revolve around the LORD, the Creator of the universe, and the Giver of life. Trust Him.

A Personalized Bible Is a Great Gift for Loved Ones

Wade's study Bible from PersonalizedBibles.com
For regular readers of my blog, you know I've lamented often over the dearth of Biblical knowledge in the United States. Americans used to be able to speak the same language, full of references from the Scriptures. Every citizen of the United States had at least a general knowledge of what the Bible teaches. 

No more. 

When the #1 song in America is the obscene, profane, and sexually explicit song called WAP, the Bible is the last thing Americans, especially millennials, have read or want to read.

That's why I have a suggestion for you.

Send to those that you love a personalized Bible from PersonalizedBibles.com.

When the Word of God arrives with your loved one's name embossed on the front cover, it's like the LORD is calling your loved one to read His Word.

I received my study Bible yesterday. I teach and read from the New American Standard Bible, but PersonalizedBibles.com has all the major translations and all the colors and bindings (leather, soft, hardback, etc.) you'd find in a major Christian bookstore. 

Ordering is fast, easy, and efficient. Open an account at PersonalizedBibles.com and start sending gifts that have eternal meaning! 

Wade Burleson's embossed Bible from PersonalizedBibles.com

"John Childers' Soul Has Gone to Hell --"

"Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen." George Savile

As promised, I will tell you the story of a man named John Childers and the judgment that comes to those who mock God and His commandments. 

On Friday, August 15, 1873, the United States government hanged John Childers in Fort Smith, Arkansas. 

In an age of "social justice" when Americans seem concerned about oppression and injustice, but pay little attention to crimes committed, even releasing criminals "without bail," we're due for a good reminder that ultimate justice is in the hands of Almighty God. To flaunt His moral code is to jeopardize your existence.

The following is excerpted from Glenn Shirley's superb 1957 book Law West of Fort Smith: A History of Frontier Justice in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) 1834-1896.

Deputy United States Marshal James Messler adjusted the noose about the prisoner's neck. He placed the big knot under the left ear in the hollow just back of the jawbone and took up the slack. Then, mopping huge drops of perspiration from his forehead with a soiled bandanna, he stared down the thirteen steps at the two thousand sweating sight-seers who packed the jail yard inside the grim stone walls of abandoned Fort Smith.

It was the afternoon of August 15, 1873. The sun boiled down. There was not even a tiny stir of breeze. The sky was clear except for a small black cloud coming up in the southwest. It crossed the Arkansas River, and as Messler adjusted the noose, seemed to pause and hover over the scene. 

The crowd waited. 

The prisoner was John Childers. He was strong, of muscular build, five feet eleven inches in height, and twenty-four-years old. He had been born in cowskin Creek in the Cherokee nation to a white man and a Cherokee woman. He had spent his childhood in wickedness, and at the time of his arrest for murder, a crime so cold-blooded and vicious, scarcely one among the many assembled could not recite the revolting details. 

On the morning of October 14, 1870, Childers met an old man named Reyburn Wedding. The old man made his living trading with the Indians, and Childers came across him near Caney Creek below the Kansas line in the Cherokee Nation. Reyburn drove his wagon with a fine black horse that caught Childer's fancy, and the outlaw began dickering for a trade. Reyburn Wedding declined the offer, saying he was not interested in parting with the animal and drove on. 

Childers' face darkened. Deciding to have the horse at any cost, he spurred his poney ahead, overtaking the peddler. Hitching his mount to the tailgate of the wagon, he climbed into the seat beside the old man. 

According to testimony developed later at the trial, Childers' bargained for the horse twenty-seven times, and twenty-seven times Wedding refused. Finally, Childers seized the surprised trader by the head, whipped a long knife from his belt, and before Wedding could move to defend himself, stretched the old man across the back of the seat and slashed his throat from ear to ear. Then the outlaw dumped the body in the water, stripped the harness from the horse he coveted, and rode away. 

Deputy Marshals of the United States government eventually captured John Childers in Indian Territory, transporting him to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Judge Isaac Parker sentenced him to die by hanging on August 15, 1873. 

Behind Childers on the newly erected gallows stood a guard of six deputies headed by Marshal John Sarber. Sarber asked the convicted horse thief and murderer, "Are there any last words you wish to say, Childers?" 

The killer tossed away his cigar, and for the first time since his capture, he appeared disturbed. "Didn't you say you were going to hang me?" 

"Yes," Sarber replied.

"Then," Childers responded cooly, "why in the hell don't you." 

The marshal buckled Childers' hands to his sides. The black hood was placed over the killer's face and adjusted. Then the marshal gave the signal. The assigned deputy released the bolt and John Childers' neck tilted curiously to one side as he shot to the end of the rope. 

And at exactly that same moment a remarkable thing happened. 

As the door fell from under Childers' feet, a tremendous clap of thunder shook the earth of the enclosure, drowning completely the thudding noise of the cumbrous trap. The black cloud hanging above the fort had seemed innocent enough. From it now shot a bolt of lightning. It struck the frame of the gibbet, shooting a thousand tiny sparks into the air. 

"John Childers' soul has gone to hell -- I done heerd de chains a-clankin'!" screamed an ashen-faced Negro woman as she hysterically waved her arms and swooned in the center of the throng. Then the cloud burst open and for several minutes rain poured down, soaking the bewildered crowd.

None present could ever deny the startling phenomenon that attended the execution. The entire proceedings -- the grim ritual on the scaffold, the celestial detonation, the pyrotechnics, and sudden drenching -- filled the spectators with awe. 

People who witnessed it shuddered with fear, and those who had come to mock and jeer at the law never again attempted to explain away what they witnessed.

John Childers' soul had gone to hell.

The Leavenworth Times (Kansas) Front Page Report on John Childers' Execution in Fort Smith