Burnt Magna Carta Read for First Time in 283 Years

From Fox News.

multispectral-magna-cartaMore than 280 years after it was damaged in a fire, one of the original copies of the Magna Carta is legible again.

Written in 1215, the Magna Carta required the king of England King John to cede absolute power. Today, the Magna Carta is seen as a first step toward constitutional law rather than the hereditary power of royalty. There were four copies of the document created at the time. One, held by the British Library, was badly damaged in a fire in 1731.

Now, researchers have used a technique called multispectral imaging to decipher the text of the “Burnt Magna Carta” without touching or further damaging the delicate parchment. This imaging allowed conservation scientists to take pictures of the document that virtually erase the damage and show details of the parchment and text.

“It was in such a terrible state, we couldn’t read any of it, really,” said Christina Duffy, a British Library imaging scientist. “It was actually quite a surprise that so much text was recovered.”

Read it all.

On VJ Day, New Generations Remember

From here in 2010:

We’ve long known that our World War II veterans were dying at an alarming rate. Some estimates put the figure at 1,000 a day. With them go important personal stories that will no longer be told, along with photo albums, scrapbooks and mementos. But as Sunday’s 65th anniversary of VJ Day approaches, I’m happy to report that for all the talk about the dwindling numbers of “the Greatest Generation,” there are new generations stepping up to keep their memory alive. Namely, the veterans’ children and grandchildren.

A heartwarming story. I am thankful and glad there are those who will not let the memories and lessons of WWII die on their watch. Read it all and remember those in that generation.

Remembering V-J Day

Today marks 69th anniversary of Victory Over Japan (V-J) Day and the end of World War II (the formal, unconditional surrender was not signed until September 1, 1945). vj-day pictStop and remember the brave men and women who fought against the evil of Nazism and Japanese militarism in the 1940s.

Remember too our brave soldiers today who are fighting against another form of evil and keep our soldiers in your prayers.

From the History Channel.

On this day in 1945, an official announcement of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies is made public to the Japanese people.

Read it all.

Also read the text of President Truman’s radio message broadcast to the American people on September 1, 1945.

From here:

My fellow Americans, and the Supreme Allied Commander, General MacArthur, in Tokyo Bay:

The thoughts and hopes of all America–indeed of all the civilized world–are centered tonight on the battleship Missouri. There on that small piece of American soil anchored in Tokyo Harbor the Japanese have just officially laid down their arms. They have signed terms of unconditional surrender.

Four years ago, the thoughts and fears of the whole civilized world were centered on another piece of American soil–Pearl Harbor. The mighty threat to civilization which began there is now laid at rest. It was a long road to Tokyo–and a bloody one.

We shall not forget Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese militarists will not forget the U.S.S. Missouri.

The evil done by the Japanese war lords can never be repaired or forgotten. But their power to destroy and kill has been taken from them. Their armies and what is left of their Navy are now impotent.

Read it all as well.

Honolulu HI Celebrates V-J Day

From vimeo.

65 Years Ago my Dad shot this film along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki capturing spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender. Kodachrome 16mm film: God Bless Kodachrome, right? I was able to find an outfit (mymovietransfer.com) to do a much superior scan of this footage to what I had previously posted, so I re-did this film and replaced the older version There are more still images from this amazing day, in color, at discoveringhawaii.com

On this, the 69th anniversary of V-J Day (Victory Over Japan Day), a wonderful snippet from time. Watch it all and remember. Give thanks as you do for the greatest generation who have largely passed from our view.

What Abraham Lincoln Thought About Fourth of July, Declaration of Independence

From Fox News.

lincoln19In the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln’s rhetoric was suffused with a profound sense of loss. He considered it shameful national backsliding that a new affirmative defense of slavery had arisen in the South. At the time of the Founding our nation had merely tolerated slavery; now, it was an institution actively celebrated in part of the country.

In a letter in 1855 despairing of ending slavery, Lincoln wrote to the Kentuckian George Robertson that “the fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day–/for burning fire-crackers/!!!”

At around this time, Lincoln fastened on the Declaration of Independence as “his political chart and inspiration,” in the words of his White House secretary John G. Nicolay.

He made it the guidepost by which the country could return to its lost ideals. His example shows the enduring vitality and the endless potential for renewal that is inherent in the Declaration.

Some good stuff here. See what you think.

Robert Tracy McKenzie: America’s Founding May Not Have Been Christian, but It Sure Wasn’t Anti-Christian

See what happens to shoddy thinking when it is confronted by clear thinking. It ain’t pretty (if you’re the shoddy thinker).

51YU-l46UbL._SX140Apart from the hyperbole, what precisely is new about Stewart’s reading of the founding? It’s not his assertion that the religious views of the most prominent Founders were unorthodox. With apologies to David Barton, there is little evidence that the leading Founders were devout Christians who based their political philosophy primarily on Scripture. Whether we label them “deists” or “theistic rationalists” or “Enlightenment Christians,” no historically sound argument can transform them into card-carrying evangelicals. Nor is Stewart being innovative in claiming that the Founders drew extensively from Enlightenment sources in thinking about the proper structure and function of government. Scholars of the Revolution almost unanimously agree with this, and that includes Christian historians who take religion’s role with great seriousness.

But the predominant view within the academy would complicate each of these conclusions. Scholars typically argue that the leading Founders were unorthodox, but not irreligious. Yes, they found much of value in Enlightenment philosophy, but they gravitated toward the Enlightenment’s more moderate expressions, especially Scottish “Common Sense” writings that could be reconciled with Christianity. And to the degree that they embraced deism or something close to it, they adopted a worldview confined largely to elite intellectuals. They were thus hardly representative of the rank and file of Americans, many of whom had been swept up in the religious enthusiasm of the Great Awakening. In sum, the intellectual influences on the Revolutionary generation were numerous and diverse. Orthodox Christian belief was hardly determinative, but neither was it insignificant.

What distinguishes Nature’s God is that it rejects all such nuance. The essence of the American founding was an ardent secularism, period. Whatever the Founders said for public consumption about freedom of religion, what they really wanted was freedom from religion. In this they were joined by a considerable cross-section of independent-minded patriots. Stewart insists that atheism was widespread in Revolutionary America, and the only reason we don’t remember it is that religious zealots in later years would cover up a historical fact they found embarrassing.

Read the entire book review (click the reader mode for best results).

Faith and History: Jefferson’s Faith

A good read. See what you think.

jefferson-peale-1791Were our Founding Fathers devout Christians determined to create a Christian commonwealth grounded on biblical principles?  Or were they secular sons of the Enlightenment who hoped to banish orthodox Christianity from the public square?  This Fourth of July, combatants on both sides of the culture wars will gravitate to one or the other of these extremes as they remember our nation’s birth.  It’s a horrible dichotomy that demands that we choose between two equally untenable positions.

A more defensible position rejects both of these all-or-nothing claims.  As Matthew L. Harris and Thomas S. Kidd observe in their anthology The Founding Fathers and the Debate Over Religion in America, “None of the Founders were atheists . . . but none of the most famous Founders were ‘evangelical’ Christians of the sort produced by the Great Awakening, either.”  Many of the Founders were significantly influenced by the Enlightenment, most notably in their frequent willingness to let reason trump revelation when they seemed to be in conflict.  On the other hand, as Harris and Kidd note, “hardly anyone during the revolutionary era doubted that religion, and especially moral virtue, was important to the life of the new American republic.”   Citing such complexity, they conclude that any broad generalization of the Founders as either “secular” or “Christian” is problematic at best.

Read it all.

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, declaration_of_independence_630Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Read and reflect on it all. A country without God as its basis and foundation cannot be free.