I just finished the David Teems book, Majestie, about the times leading up to and the times of the production of the King James Bible. The modern sentiment was that I was "wowed"! The historical narrative, the personal insights, the look at human nature then and now – it really hasn't changed – the respect for people of different times and situations, the humor that can be found in the ebb and flow of the journey of humanity, and the profound respect for the spiritual dimensions involved with the production of the King James Bible – deserve a great big modern "Wow"!

I have now begun reading another Teems book, this on the life and times of William Tyndale (1500s). The author opened this book with a synopsis of how the church of the Middle Ages was in control – and claiming rightfully so – of essentially every aspect of peoples’ lives. I was once again struck by the constancy of human nature – particularly the dark side of our nature that seeks to control others. The authorities of that day not only demanded spiritual allegiance, but also secular and financial allegiance, as well as personal actions allegiance – how one was to use one's time, what was allowable sexually within marriage, and on and on. Disagreeing with that authority was punishable by not only fines and imprisonment but easily by execution – typically being burned alive at the stake. All that is interesting history.

But when studying and trying to apply history to our own times, it appears over and over that human nature does not really change. There have been examples throughout the 20th century of authoritarian regimes demanding this kind of control over the lives of us moderns – the German Third Reich, Stalinism/Leninism/totalitarian communism of the Soviet Union, Cambodian Khmer Rouge and their "killing fields", to name just a handful of more prominent examples. In our current early 21st-century time, the most obvious example of this attempt at total cultural control would perhaps be radical Islam – not only how they treat those who are currently under their authority, but also their goal to spread that dominion to every person on the planet.

The United States of America was formed as a reaction to the even more modest control that Great Britain exercised over its subjects in the 1700s. We sought to limit, by written document and by common agreement, the authority and control that secular or religious bodies could have over our lives. Culturally, these ideals of liberty were passed down from generation to generation, in early America, inculcated in churches and schools so that, the hope was, this experiment in liberty – God-given liberty – would not fade from the earth.

As I was trying to get a sense for why we are losing more and more of our liberty in our time, it struck me that the same spirit that inhabited the cultural leadership in the Middle Ages (civil and religious being quite openly united at that time) is certainly alive and well today – not only in radical Islam, but also in modern secular liberalism (whether European, or as it exists also in America).

It has taken well over 100 years, closer to 150 years, to break down the fortress of Liberty that our founders built. But make no mistake it is being torn down. Whether unintentionally or very intentionally, the secular leadership of today is on a trajectory with the same endgame that was seen in the Middle Ages. Many, most, or perhaps all of these leftist leaders are unaware of where they are taking us, where we are being taken, and of course the steps are generally small and slow (at times not so small and slow!), towards total dominion of the populace, how we think, how we act, how we interact with each other, what we do with our finances – in truth whether our finances really are our own, or whether they truly belong to the authorities and we are allowed a pittance to be returned to us to be used as they see fit.

"Ah ha!" you might say, "but this is nothing like the Middle Ages where people were burned at the stake for disagreeing with the cultural authority of the day, right?" In that time there were very few who would stand up to the threats and the punishments meted out by the cultural authorities of that day – specifically the Catholic church of Rome and the many "secular" state leaders who helped enforce the Church's decrees, decisions, and punishments.

And with good reason – the rate of punishment for defying the authorities was nearly 100%. "That sort of thing could never happen in our time, right?" you hopefully state. While the blatant use of that type of punishment – public execution by being burned alive at a stake – is certainly not happening here, I would suggest that as we move further down the path of the disintegration of respect for our constitutional rights – our constitutional system of government in general – we at least have one example in our recent national past that should give us pause. In Waco Texas just a few years ago, the federal government decided that a group of people living on their private property in Waco Texas was not responding fast enough to government demands. Our federal government decided, without any military-type provocation from the citizens on the Waco property, to begin a military assault on that facility which resulted in many fellow Americans, US citizens, being burned alive. Some Americans of course questioned this action, but ultimately the court of public opinion, as well as the United States court system and Congress, did not declare this action to be outside of the bounds of what can, or in their opinion, should be done to those who stand up to the state/cultural authorities.

You might – and should – argue that many of those burned at the stake in the Middle Ages simply had legitimate disagreements with the authorities of that day – such as simply disagreeing with the theological issue of "transubstantiation" – that is, whether the bread and wine of communion is just bread and wine, or actually mysteriously turns into the physical body of Christ when it is ingested) etc. This would seem to us to be an issue of belief that we would not think worthy of death. But my point is that we should not and must not be lulled into thinking that the spirits that seek to forcibly control the lives of others were active only in the Middle Ages.

Perhaps it's easier to see and rail against obvious blatant totalitarianism as was present in the Middle Ages, as opposed to the slower more gradual procession towards that end that we face today – but I doubt it. It took courage and a willingness to sacrifice everything (even one's very life) to stand up to tyranny then – it still does.

God Bless,

Ricky Lee Jackson

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Some have joined Tea Parties, stormed town halls, others like family practice physician and country recording artist Ricky Lee Jackson have taken to the microphone... 
he wants his country back." 
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