Dec
02

Obituary for an ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ Ray Smyth.

Obituary for an ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ Ray Smyth.

“Old soldiers never die, They simply fade away”,
(British Army’s parody of the gospel song ‘Kind Thoughts Can Never Die’)

On the 21st November 2017, sadly an old soldier faded away. Ray Smyth as well as being a Veteran Soldier, not just a pen pusher in the office but a signaller, a forward air controller in the battle zones of Kenya, Suez and Kuwait. As a retired member of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers he could have collected his meagre pension and worn his medals and Veterans badge with great pride, but Ray had bigger battles to fight. Ray had the Christian Warrior spirit, not that he was in any way violent or even fierce, he was in everyway a gentleman, a gentle and kind man. His warrior spirit was more like the code of the Arthurian knight of old, he would fight for damsels in distress, or evil dragons. Ray believed that Right was Might, Not Might was Right, he believed that with total perseverance truth would win out over evil. He was inspirational, a real life Don Quixote, or Sir Galahad.

Ray was completely different from the normal every day ‘anything goes’ Christians. There was no half measure, no blue rinse with no salt, who buckle under the slightest pressure. Raymond Smyth was more than full on. Ray read his Bible literally and believed passionately, that once you took on Christianity, a duty came with it, an obligation to promote change for the benefit of humanity. So believing the pen was mightier than the sword he began a Christian newspaper to engage in politics. Ray found that the socialist/ communist philosophy abhorrent and supported the freedoms of the individual against all forms of modern despotic governments.

He was inspired by the words in his Bible and as he battled on, he depended on them as he had to face regular disappointments. For light relief he enjoyed debates on morals and actively attempted to christianise his friend the skeptic “Doubting Ron” and anyone else for that matter, that he came in contact with.

Ray would quote,

1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Matthew 12:29 “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”

Luke 22:35-37 “Then Jesus asked them, “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveller’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!”

He used powerful words, but they were not as compelling as his example and his determination to be a soldier for ‘Right’. He saw natural Fathers, ‘the strong men’ had been bound by the our political system. Ray ardently believed that it was his duty or more like his privilege to be a strong man, to provide for his own family, his own church, his own clan, his own tribe and his own nation, that was partly why he felt a strong tie to his own Celtic ancestors who originally travelled from the middle east to populate Ireland and Scotland, because they were his own house.

Persistence Personified.

Ray for many years printed on behalf of Christians Speaking Out, a newspaper, “Its Time”. He did not just write the stories, he went out and fought the battles, he created the action, he made the time. He edited, found the pictures or drew the pictures, he typeset the paper, he worked tirelessly to find the cash to get it printed and then he distributed the paper. Yes, he had some inspired helpers, but for over ten years he was the heart and hammer. I can remember during those times discussing with him if he could see that other people, especially his family, would compare him to Miguel de Cervantes depiction of the middle aged Don Qxiote who decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. Tilting at windmills, believing that those windmills are giants, with a shaving bowl for a helmet, being knocked of his old nag of a horse, refusing to believe that it was impossible to turn back the demise of chivalry. Don Qxiote inspired millions for the last 300 years, but Chivalry still died and our western civilisation our western culture is still in a steep nose dive.
Ray, of course would never accept that it was beyond repair, he had the impossible dream. The kindest man I have ever known was always still ‘fighting fit and dangerous’. To make up for my cruelty, I tried to be kind and did relate to him the words from Cyrano de Bergerac where he is discussing Don Qxiote principles

Antoine Comte de Guiche: “Windmills, remember, if you fight with them..(they). may swing round their huge arms and cast you down into the mire!”

Cyrano de Bergerac: “Or up, among the stars!”

Ray dreamed the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe, He strove where the brave dare not go, to right the un-rightable wrongs. To try, when his arms were too weary, To reach the unreachable star!
It was his Quest to follow that star, No matter how hopeless, no matter how far, To fight for the right, Without question or pause, and to win he was willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause!
And the world will be better for this, Showing, that one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove, with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable stars.
And I know, that Ray will be peaceful and calm, when he is laid to rest, knowing that he did his bit, for this glorious Quest.

Well done, good and faithful Christian Soldier, fade away, sleep calm, your number has been called. Using your example, we who are left will take our turn and man the barricades.

By Ron Owen with some help from quotes from Miguel de Cervantes, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand and Man of La Mancha by Joe Darion.

Nov
03

Thomas Jefferson, A Hero of Individual Rights.

“Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.” Thomas Jefferson:
 

All men have the right to arms suitable for their defence.

This is an amazing history, Thomas Jefferson, who was a full subscriber to the philosophy of Individual Freedom, which he remaind a disciple for all of his life. He was a fan of John Locke the man who contributed most to the Bill of Rights of 1689. He wrote  ‘The Treatises of Civil Government’ and many others but this was the one that Jefferson went to for ideas when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The education supplied to Jefferson must have been first class. If only we had schools in the 21st Century that were so well equipped. These men established human rights namley that all men have the right to arms suitable for their defence. ron

There are two parts.Be sure to read the 2nd part.

Part One

This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albermarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello. 

Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the “silent member” of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.

Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France in 1785. His sympathy for the French Revolution led him into conflict with Alexander Hamilton when Jefferson was Secretary of State in President Washington’s Cabinet. He resigned in 1793.

Sharp political conflict developed, and two separate parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, began to form. Jefferson gradually assumed leadership of the Republicans, who sympathized with the revolutionary cause in France. Attacking Federalist policies, he opposed a strong centralized Government and championed the rights of states.

As a reluctant candidate for President in 1796, Jefferson came within three votes of election. Through a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President, although an opponent of President Adams. In 1800 the defect caused a more serious problem. Republican electors, attempting to name both a President and a Vice President from their own party, cast a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives settled the tie. Hamilton, disliking both Jefferson and Burr, nevertheless urged Jefferson’s election.

In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

When Jefferson assumed the Presidency, the crisis in France had passed. He slashed Army and Navy expenditures, cut the budget, eliminated the tax on whiskey so unpopular in the West, yet reduced the national debt by a third. He also sent a naval squadron to fight the Barbary pirates, who were harassing American commerce in the Mediterranean. Further, although the Constitution made no provision for the acquisition of new land, Jefferson suppressed his qualms over constitutionality when he had the opportunity to acquire the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon in 1803.

During Jefferson’s second term, he was increasingly preoccupied with keeping the nation from involvement in the Napoleonic wars, though both England and France interfered with the neutral rights of American merchantmen. Jefferson’s attempted solution, an embargo upon American shipping, worked badly and was unpopular.

Jefferson retired to Monticello to ponder such projects as his grand designs for the University of Virginia. A French nobleman observed that he had placed his house and his mind “on an elevated situation, from which he might contemplate the universe.”

Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.
At 5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor.
At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.
At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
At 23, started his own law practice.
At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America and retired from his law practice.
At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence .
At 33, took three years to revise Virginia ‘s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia , succeeding Patrick Henry.
At 40, served in Congress for two years.
At 41, was the American Minister to France , and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions, and became the active head of Republican Party.
At 57, was elected the third president of the United States .
At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase , doubling the nation’s size.
At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
At 65, retired to Monticello .
At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia , and served as its first president.
At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams
Part Two
Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement:
“This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .” — Thomas Jefferson
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” — Thomas Jefferson
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” — Thomas Jefferson
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” — Thomas Jefferson
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”                                                                                                                                                                                 —Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”