I spent most of May 2010 in predominately Muslim neighborhoods in the UK. As I walked the streets, I had often had the feeling that I was in the Middle East. I took a group of CCU students over to England to build relationships with Muslims, and to share Jesus with them. We set up book tables offering free New Testaments, the Jesus film with subtitles, and other literature in English as well as several other Middle Eastern languages. I implored my students to never say anything which could be construed as anti-Muslim, but only to promote Jesus, whom Muslims consider an important prophet. I was amazed at how open most Muslims were to reading the words of Jesus. Although a few wanted to argue, we avoided doing so, merely challenging them to better inform themselves of what Jesus taught.
The mosques in the UK are full to overflowing, while most churches are nearly empty, except for the evangelical ones. Just before Friday prayers we walked past a mosque where the faithful were gathering. There were so many people that loudspeakers were set up outside the mosque, and hundreds were on the sidewalks and street blocking traffic all the way to the corner. It was from this mosque that several young men were arrested, attempting to smuggle explosives on planes. They are the reason we can’t bring shampoo or toothpaste onboard. We stood on the steps of a Baptist Church along that street, observing the Muslims on the sidewalk and street in front of us performing their obligatory prayers. I was a little uneasy, thinking we were barging in on their service, until I reminded myself that I was a Baptist on the steps of a Baptist church, even though its doors were locked and there seemed to be nobody inside. Some of the older English have complained to us of the problem, but the upper class young English are politically correct to a fault, and many of the lower class young English have tattoos, body piercing, or seem zoned on booze or drugs. From what I have seen, England is in trouble, but it may be different in less Muslim neighborhoods. Downtown London was very diverse, and Oxford still seemed to be quite English. Right now Muslims are on islands in a sea of English, but given recent birthrates, will English soon find themselves on islands in a sea of Muslims? There is hope, however, that British civilization won’t be ending soon. We were invited into the homes of many Muslims, and met warm and friendly people. Many of the Muslims we met respected Jesus and acknowledged the miracles he performed. They asked us to pray for them. A charismatic church sets up chairs in a square every Saturday in one predominately Muslim neighborhood offering prayer for healing. I was amazed to discover that more Muslims than English took them up on it. The Quran speaks of the healing ministry of Jesus, and Muslims often seek Christians for this purpose. One troubled Muslim man came up to me at our table, asking me to perform an exorcism to relieve him of demonic oppression.
Several Muslims we met didn’t care for Islam, but feared converting. Others said they would live a wild life until they married, then practice their religion. Still others wanted to move to New York or LA to meet film stars, live a life of glamour, and get away from the oppression of their culture. However, the fear of bringing shame to their families or ending up dead in an honor killing dissuaded them. I did meet some converts from Islam, who lived in hiding and fear, relocating to live under a pseudonym, fearing their families would find them. Some of the more courageous converts joined us at our book table, even though the penalty for leaving Islam is death. In my presence some Muslims asked them if they were born Muslim, but the converts responded that they were born "babies", avoiding the question. One of my CCU students was asked that often, but (although born in Pakistan) was from the persecuted Christian minority. One former Muslim was passing out gospels in a suburb near Heathrow airport, where one can hardly find an English face. As he distributed literature near a Mosque during Friday prayers, a crowd of Muslims surrounded and threatened him. He called 911 with a cell phone hidden in his pocket and police appeared in minutes. He reminded the angry crowd that they were in the UK, where there was freedom of speech and religion, not in the Middle East.
Many of the missionaries training us were in Muslim countries until they were expelled for their activities. Now they cool their heels in the UK, working with the only Muslims they can now reach, waiting for another opportunity to go back to the Middle East. They also hoped that some of my students would dedicate themselves to working in the Muslim world, and gain access to where they have been denied.
(Centennial Fellow) CCU's second annual Washington Week took 13 students and three faculty to Washington, DC, from May 23rd to 29th. It was an intensive “immersion” experience into the workings of our government, public policy think tanks, and current issues facing our nation.
The group spent several hours each day hearing directly from some our nation’s most important experts in policy areas spanning domestic concerns (budgeting, healthcare, the environment) as well as global issues (missile defense, terrorism, genocide). Students from diverse backgrounds and interests all gained remarkable insight into current issues facing our nation. They represented majors ranging from History, Communications, and Business to Music and Youth Ministry.
Ten highlights of this year’s trip included...
1. American Enterprise Institute: Students were briefed by by AEI’s president, Arthur Brooks, as well as Henry Olsen, Charles Murray, Steve Hayward and Kevin Hasset.
2. The Heritage Foundation: Joseph Postell spoke on the American Founding and Tim Goeglein (who lobbies on behalf of Focus on the Family) discussed current culture issues and the role Christians need to play in shaping our society.
3. Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Students learned about the current threat of radical Islamic global terror and the proper U.S. response.
4. Fox News Studio: Students were given a tour led by Mary Katherine Ham, writer for the Weekly Standard and frequent contributor to Fox News.
5. Free Congress Foundation: Honorable Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia, discussed the current economic and budget crisis, as well as the current political landscape.
6. Institute of World Politics: Students listened to lectures by three members from the graduate faculty on the theoretical underpinnings of international relations, the problem of genocide, and the current state of foreign affairs.
7. Center for Competitive Politics: Sean Parnell discussed current campaign finance laws and the work of the Center to challenge finance laws that impinge on 1st Amendment protections.
8. American Council of Trustees and Alumni: Michael Poliakoff spoke on the work ACTA does to promote better quality of higher education and improved general education standards. He also illustrated cases of schools that infringe on students’ rights.
9. Greek Embassy: Students listened to a policy briefing by Mr. Panayotis Stournaras, First Counselor for Political Affairs, and Mrs. Ioanna Annita Mavromichalis, Minister-Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs. Both discussed the current economic crisis in Greece, as well as steps being taken to improve the Greek economy through increased trade and foreign investment.
10.United States Capitol: Students were given a tour of the Capitol led by the Honorable Hank Brown, who took students onto the Senate floor and into several areas restricted to general public. Senator Brown shared considerable knowledge of the workings of Congress,as well as Capitol history, architecture and art. The students also enjoyed breakfast in the Senate dining room and lunch in the House dining room.
(CCU Student) This past semester, I had the privilege of interning at the Colorado House of Representatives under Representative Steven King from Grand Junction Colorado. I hope someday to serve in public office myself, and when the opportunity arrived it seemed like a great chance for me to learn more about what is happening politically at the state level. I learned a lot about the political process when interning at the state capitol about procedure and how hectic even a local politicians schedule could be. The greatest asset for me was not necessarily learning about the ins and outs of the political system however. As a follower of Christ I had a difficult time reconciling how seemingly self-serving a profession in politics is with my faith. Yet having spent time at the State Capitol, I have personally witnessed how much of an impact a solid Christian politician can potentially have on his/her constituency. A great benefit of working in the state house during the session is you have an acute awareness of what your states major issues are and how our elected Representatives intend to fix these problems. I had the chance to help my representative research issues ranging from motorcycles, land rights, pay day loans, medical marijuana, and much more. The internship really showed me how interested this job could be with this wide variety of issues. The job was rewarding in the way that I genuinely felt I was learning about something new every day. I also came to respect the time our honest legislatures put in for us. Representative Steven King for example woke up at 4AM to get to the statehouse at 8:30AM from his home in Grand Junction. He sacrifices time with his family to stay from Monday morning until Friday afternoon in Grand Junction while occasionally running back and forth from his hometown just for a dinner, caucus, or family event. Seeing someone like Representative King helped me get past my greatest apprehension in getting involved in the political arena. Ever since I was twelve years old, I have felt an internal longing to serve in public office. At this point in my life I feel like that’s the path God wants me to be walking right now. Despite this, I have always had an apprehension to how self serving the profession seems. You cannot go an extended period of time without hearing about some politician using their power in a corrupt fashion to obtain personal gains. It can also seem like the political system is a giant deadlock where a Christian would be able to serve God best elsewhere. These politicians however have the power to get things moving in our system. I have seen some representative respond to constituents who are desperate because the government keeps stone walling them on their healthcare, licensing, education, ect. and these people who have nowhere else to go end up calling their elected representatives. These representatives can help things get moving with just a simple phone call or can have their office research the best methods of obtaining say an expensive surgery when they cannot afford health insurance make to much to be put on Medicaid. Even if a public servant gets nothing done at the legislative level, they can do some much for their community in their position if they put their minds to it. My desire to serve in public office has actually been enhanced because of what our Representatives have the potential to do behind closed doors. Like many professions, it is what you make of it. You can easily use the position for personal gain and privilege if that is the desire of your heart. However, if you truly have the desire to expand the kingdom of God from this position of power, the possibilities can be limitless. The bottom line is that I learned that you can do so much for God’s kingdom from these positions. However power corrupts and that is why politicians need to have a God centered approach when engaging in political activities otherwise it will become self serving. It satisfying to see that serving in public office can be one of the greatest ways to serve a community by using their office to flat our serve people’s needs. I can honestly now enter this profession with a clear conscience which is something that I could not have necessarily said before this internship. That to me is invaluable.
CCU students gathered in the school library after a week of final exams- turned off the lights, played music, and carried forward in dance to celebrate the best year in CCU history. I sat and watched, but by no means was I disturbed; it created a lasting memory for me as I leave this wonderful place… I’m sad to leave, but glad that only graduation and a two-month estate planning project stand between me and a year-long law internship in China. I’m moving on.
On August 1, 2010, Neil Armstrong’s historic words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” will be summoned as I step on Asian soil for the first time in my life: Beijing, the capital and center of the twenty-first century’s prevailing conversation. This will be a small step on my journey, yet, a continued giant leap for Chinese citizens. Deng Xiaoping opened China’s borders in the late 1970’s, and Mao’s communism morphed into what most call “market socialism.” Despite thirty years of economic growth, China is a communist nation, the longest standing in the world, and the government’s authoritative, if not totalitarian, control still limits freedom and possible growth for China’s 1.4 billion people. Stability, economic growth, and maintaining control are the Party’s major concerns, in which rule of law and freedom (concerns America has historically focused on) are essentially left out.
In a conversation with one of Beijing’s leading attorneys, he told me, “In China, it’s not ‘Do you know the law,’ it’s ‘Do you know the judge?’” Corruption, along with a multitude of other problems – lack of ethics, for example – is at the forefront of blockades preventing a healthy rule of law in China. Will the absence of enforcement and the lack of freedom lead to China’s demise, or can market socialism prevail?
Coming next fall, “CHEEK FROM CHINA” will be a series of articles focused on a study concerning the rule of law in China, or lack thereof, the Chinese judicial system, or corruption therein, and their American counterparts. Though moving on, I’ll be staying on board with the key principles and core values CCU has taught me to live by…faith, family, and freedom.
Lawson Cheek, Tennessee's contribution to the CCU Class of 2010, is the outgoing Student Chief Justice and a member of the Centennial Institute Program Board.
"Best Practices in Teaching Western Civilization" was the topic for an all-day workshop hosted at Colorado Christian University by the Centennial Institute on April 16. Over 30 educators from across the state, representing five colleges and three high schools, took part. President Bill Armstrong summoned the gathering to build on CCU's new curriculum requirement for every freshman to take Western Civ as a cornerstone for subsequent courses in whatever major the student eventually chooses. In keynoting the day, Armstrong challenged participants to work against the "intellectual Alzheimer's" that threatens our heritage of liberty. Someone remarked that the militant multicultural assault on traditional curriculum in the 1980s, led by Jesse Jackson at Stanford and other prestige universities, needs to have its slogan turned around so as to demand, "Ho ho, hey hey, Western Civ has got to stay."
Program materials for the April 16 workshop are here... western civ colloquium 041610.doc (55.50 kb) Some photos are below.
From afar: Centennial's John Andrews welcomes Mohd Rozi Ismail (L), a Malaysian graduate student at Colorado State University, and Florian Hild (R), an American citizen born in Germany who is now headmaster of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins
"Making It Work in the 21st Century" was the topic for Prof. Timothy Fuller, a political scientist from Colorado College.
Prof. Vincent McGuire of the Center for Western Civilization at CU-Boulder led a discussion on collaboration at the college level and with high schools.
Dr. Philip Mitchell of the CCU History Department chaired a student focus group on experiences in last fall's Western Civ course.
(CCU Faculty) The Colorado Christian University chapter of the College Republicans sponsored a trip to the Colorado State Capitol for the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party. Twelve students attended the rally on the Capitol steps, joining thousands of other protesters.
Many news reports suggest various demographic biases (too white, too rich, too educated, too…). Tut as best we could see, the gathered group at the state capitol was a cross section of Colorado, with great ethnic, age and socio-economic diversity.
Another charge lodged against the Tea Parties has been that of radical extremism. While there were indeed a few signs that were off-color and a few outlandish claims made; these were a very small minority. And none were any worse than what was being promoted by the small gathering of “anti-Tea Party" protesters who were staged across the street. One sign actually called for the lynching of Sarah Palin! We will wait patiently for the media to cover that!
Most of the crowd was simply demanding greater protection of liberty; and less government, less entitlement spending, and less taxation.
Following the rally, the group headed into the Capitol building where they were led onto the Senate floor by State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), who shared some of the history as well as the day to day workings of the Colorado Senate.
The group then toured State House where the House Sgt of Arms escorted the group onto the floor while discussing the history of the House Chamber. Finally, the group visited the office of State Representative Amy Stephens (R-Colorado Springs) who shared some of her experiences.
The day marked an excellent experience of both citizen education and activism.
(CCU Student) I as a CCU sophomore and Natasha Starceski as a senior were privileged to take part on March 21-23 in Washington, D.C. when 7,500 people gathered to attend AIPAC’s aptly named Policy Conference. During the conference, guests heard from: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Evan Bayh (D-IN), Quartet Representative and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Pastor DeeDee Coleman and Colonel Richard Kemp. The topic was the importance of the U.S. - Israel relationship.
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC is known as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby” and one of the top five most powerful lobbies in the country. To put that in perspective, AIPAC ranks alongside the AARP and NRA in lobbing effectiveness, all quite a feat in consideration of their smaller size and lesser funding. The real difference is in AIPAC’s grass-roots approach of equipping citizens and student-citizens to reach out and build meaningful relationships with their respective representatives.
You had to be there... taken inside the cavernous conference facility
Matt Lenell and Natasha Starceski help lead the Mideast Reconciliation Initiative, a newly formed student group at CCU engaged with issues relating to Israel, Islam, and the Middle East. They have taken part in several AIPAC college outreach activities since becoming interested in the subject during the CCU Washington Week study trip last May.
Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, one of several contenders for the Republican nomination in Colorado's 7th congressional district, pledged Tuesday night at CCU that if elected, "I will fight to repeal this health care monstrosity and replace it with free-market reforms."
Frazier spoke on health care, the deficit, and other issues to a packed audience of students and campus neighbors, about 50 in all. The event was sponsored by the Colorado Republicans chapter at Colorado Christian University.
CD-7 takes in much of Jefferson County, including Lakewood where the university is located, as well as parts of other counties in Denver's north and west suburbs.
An invitation to speak at CCU as a guest of the Centennial Institute is pending with Congressman Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent.
Others seeking the GOP nomination in CD-7, including Mike Sheely and Jimmy Lakey (who has since dropped out) have attended Centennial forums in the past.
CCU student David Keimig, well-experienced with the health care system, listens to candidate Ryan Frazier's policy discussion Tuesday evening.
('76 Editor) Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian medical doctor once recruited to a radical Islamist cell by Ayman al-Zawahiri (himself an MD in Egypt who has since become second in command of Al Qaeda), spoke on "Confronting Radical Islam" to a lunchtime audience of almost 100 students, faculty, and friends from the community at the CCU dining commons on March 3.The violent and brutal doctrines assumed by many Westerners to be part of an extremist fringe are in fact mainstream Muslim teachings, Dr. Hamid said. He described an "ABC list" of such doctrines that can be used to test the claim that Islam is a religion of peace. The first seven letters of his alphabet, all derived from the Koran, are apostate-killing, barbaric treatment of women, calling Jews pigs and monkeys, declaring war on non-Muslims, enslaving fellow human beings, fighting Jews and Christians by holy command, and gay-killing.Not one book is in print from a Muslim authority denouncing these practices, Dr. Hamid said. Nor are there any prominent mosques and clerics on record against them.His own book "Inside Jihad" was on sale after the talk, which was jointly sponsored by the Centennial Institute and a new CCU student group called the Mideast Reconciliation Initiative. Chapters in the book address the making of an Islamic terrorist, myths and misconceptions about Islamism, the failure of Islamic societies, the failure of the West, steps toward an Islamic reformation, and a strategic plan to defeat radical Islam. The author's website, TawfikHamid.com, has ordering information for the book.Tawfik Hamid's talk at CCU is linked here. (Allow time for file to fully download before playing.)
The West must wake up to the cancerous threat of violent Islam not only on its borders but in its midst, Hamid told CCU audience
(Denver Post, Feb. 21) Mobilize the militia. Fire up the Humvee. Get down the musket off the mantelpiece. Boulder is preparing to invade Colorado.
Yes, a lawyer from up in the progressive paradise says that your right to vote on taxes violates his constitutional entitlement to ever-increasing teacher salaries and NEA indoctrination of our kids. The invasion is no joke, because Herbert Fenster is a legal heavyweight and his intended enforcer is a robed priesthood answerable to no one. TABOR could be in trouble.
Fenster will ask the courts to strike down the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in our state constitution, whereby citizens have the last word on taxes and debt, under his theory that taxation by elected legislators, not you and me, is essential to “a republican form of government” as guaranteed to each state by the U.S. Constitution.
Some theory. Major premise: “The power to tax is the power to destroy,” as John Marshall warned Americans two centuries ago. Minor premise: Colorado’s people, explicitly sovereign under our 1876 constitution, have limited the taxing power with a 1992 amendment. Conclusion, according to Fenster: The General Assembly must be given unlimited power to destroy.
Who is to ax TABOR? Not the ordinary working Coloradans who sweat the jobs that bring the paychecks that yield the taxes that reduce the take-home that feeds the family. That would call for a ballot issue and a campaign, you see. It would require persuading too many selfish folks who don’t realize that others know what’s best for them. Fenster of Boulder would rather just persuade a few enlightened judges.
We could try to antidote this poison cocktail of elitism and illogic with facts. We could bring data to show that tax limitation over the past two decades has helped Colorado’s economy to thrive competitively, while buffering public budgets from the nightmare imbalance of states like California. We could cite studies tracing the dysfunction of public education to structural, not fiscal, causes. But that’s not the real issue.
The issue is whether we’re fit to be free – we the self-assertive and self-reliant Westerners, we the people. Herb Fenster and his liberal posse, decent Americans as best I know, don’t think so. They want the unelected judiciary to take our votes away from us because we’re uncaring toward children. What’s scary is that they may succeed, unless we raise the kind of hell that free men raise when liberty is threatened.
I don’t just mean filing legal briefs. A defense in court will be needed, and TABOR advocates will mount one. Nor do I just mean winning the debate. Montana's Robert Natelson and many other law professors could school Fenster in the constitutional acceptability of “direct citizen lawmaking” in both the Founders’ intent and case law.
But along with all that, we need the tea-party spirit. Absent an aroused and determined citizenry, neither law nor logic nor the majesty of the Supreme Court nor even the powers of Congress are now enough to safeguard limited government, so far gone is the old American republic with its “Don’t tread on me” ethos.
In the Reynolds case of 1964, the US Supreme Court imperially banned state senates from being districted as the U.S. Senate is. Constitutionally unwarranted and outrageous, but we swallowed it. Will the Fenster case tempt the Supremes to a similar tyrannical ban on tax limits? It could – and even if it does not, this should be a wakeup call for patriots.
Those seeking to simply gavel TABOR down will try something else if this fails. They are emboldened and shameless. They evidently believe Dostoevsky was right when he predicted mankind will trade “the ill-fated gift of freedom” for bread and lies. They assume that Tocqueville’s prophecy of “soft despotism” gradually making Americans a nation of sheep has come true. Has it?