Editor's Note: Today was the last day of classes at Colorado Christian University, prior to a ten-day Thanksgiving break. As students headed home, Prof. Greg Schaller compiled the quotations below to remind them of our country's cherished tradition of an official day of gratitude to the Almighty, in times of prosperity and adversity alike. Of all the campuses across the land, think how few were those where any such academic reminder took place. -- John Andrews
Continental Congress November 1, 1777... National Thanksgiving Day Proclamation: Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success
Samuel Adams, Governor of Massachusetts, Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1795: And I do recommend that together with our Thanksgiving, humble Prayer may be offered to God, that we may be enabled, by the subsequent obedience of our Hearts and Manners, to testify the sincerity of our professions of Gratitude, in the sight of God and Man; and thus be prepared for the Reception of future Divine Blessings.
George Washington's October 3, 1789 national Thanksgiving Proclamation: WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." President John Adams' March 23, 1798 national Fasting and Prayer proclamation: AS the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed…
October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation: It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people; I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, for such singular deliverances and blessings; they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
A cheering crowd of nearly 300 filled Colorado Christian University's School of Music auditorium last night to hear four candidates for the U.S. Senate. Weld County D.A. Ken Buck, Former Lt. Governor Jane Norton, businessman Cleve Tidwell and former State Senator Tom Wiens addressed the Centennial Institute's Candidate Forum. The program, which follows last week's forum for gubernatorial candidates, will be broadcast statewide on Colorado Public Television and Salem Radio, including KNUS 710 in the Denver metro area.
Following the one hour presentation, candidates mingled with voters for nearly an hour. Among the spectators were former Colorado Governor Bill Owens, members of the Colorado Legislature, county commissioners and political activists, as well as CCU faculty, staff and students, reporters, bloggers and interested citizens.
Congratulations to Centennial Institute's John Andrews for organizing and moderating an outstanding event. He was ably assisted by CCU seniors Kristina Schermer and Lawson Cheek who posed their own questions and those submitted by members of the audience. Although time did not permit all of the audience questions to be presented to the candidates, each question will be posted on this website.
All in all, it was a great evening, informative and interesting. Unfortunately, two of the candidates who were invited – Senator Bennett and former Speaker Romanoff – were unable to participate. We hope they will visit CCU on another occasion in the near future.
This morning’s Denver Post carried an excellent story which is linked here.
('76 Editor) Beyond Vail, beyond Durango, all the way to the Oregon woods and the West Virginia coalfields, Americans with an appetite for politics got the word about Centennial Institute's forum for Colorado gubernatorial candidates one year ahead of Election 2010. Search-engine maven Jonathan Watters of the CCU University Communications office compiled the following sampler of media coverage:http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13708744http://www.kjct8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11438579http://durangoherald.com/sections/News/2009/11/04/GOP_gubernatorial_candidates_square_off_in_Lakewood/http://www.businessword.com/index.php?/weblog/comments/2954/http://image.examiner.com/a-2302418~GOP_rivals_debate_in_governor_s_primary.htmlhttp://www.vaildaily.com/article/20091103/NEWS/911039950/1078&ParentProfile=1062http://www.wkrg.com/raw_news/article/gop_rivals_debate_debates_in_governors_primary/502331/Nov-03-2009_10-28-pm/http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=126242&catid=222http://www.gazette.com/articles/gop-64764-one-penry.htmlhttp://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=delawareonline&sParam=31963235.storyhttp://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/politics-13/1257308419262060.xml&storylist=politicshttp://www.krdo.com/Global/story.asp?S=11431742http://wvgazette.com/ap/ApPolitics/200911030232
(CCU President) A packed house at Colorado Christian University's School of Music auditorium gave gubernatorial candidates a rousing reception last night, as they spoke at CCU's Candidate Forum, sponsored by the university's Centennial Institute.
Candidates Scott McInnis, Josh Penry and Dan Maes presented their credentials in an hour long televised forum hosted by Centennial Institute Director John Andrews. An audience of 300 was invited to submit questions which were posed to candidates by CCU Seniors Chad Ryder and Samantha Scoggins. Time permitted candidates to respond to only a few of approximately 50 questions submitted, but all audience questions will be posted tomorrow on this website. The questions will constitute a “checklist of citizen concerns,” Andrews pointed out.
Governor Ritter had been expected to participate, but at 5:00 PM Monday afternoon, his office called to say that he was unable to resolve a scheduling conflict.
The forum was captured on video and will be seen statewide on Colorado Public Television and broadcast by Salem Radio stations around the state, including KNUS 710 in the Denver area. The event was covered by Associated Press and The Denver Post. The Post story is here.
A similar forum for US Senate candidates will be held at the same time, same place, next Tuesday evening the 10th of November.
It's becoming a ritual at the State Capitol: a committee is meeting to study the competing pressures of spending mandates and spending limits on the state budget.
Like those before them, this year's panel has heard from a litany of experts and special interests, almost all of whom will complain about the Gordian knot in which the state budget is entangled.
Yes, Colorado's budget is complicated and elected officials are often asked to make difficult, sometimes incoherent, fiscal choices. Like it or not, the people of Colorado have, in exchange for their tax dollars, insisted on external checks and balances which sometimes become unbalanced themselves.
What's missing in these studies is a big picture discussion of the desirable size, role and cost of our state government. Do our families, businesses and communities exist to serve our government or does our government exist to serve us? Also, how much government do we want compared to how much do we want to pay for?
If we exist to serve government, then the state is entitled to a sustainable revenue stream to support the functions that lawmakers and voters have instituted. Voters will inevitably be squeezed for more taxes as the economy slows, which is when we can least afford it.
If government exists to serve us, then the state's authority to tax and spend must be confined within limits that don't impose a hardship on families or impair job creation. Lawmakers must prioritize spending and acknowledge that some programs simply cannot be funded.
Recently, the University of Denver released a study that concluded, "[T]here simply is not enough money to pay for the government we have created." That is, "we" want more from government than we are willing to pay.
Advocates of more social welfare spending contend that the demand for government services is greatest during an economic downturn — precisely when tax revenues are declining. For this counter-cyclical concept of budgeting to be successful demands something lawmakers have seldom proven willing to do: save money when the economy is growing so it can be spent when the economy falters.
Saving even meager amounts will always remain difficult for legislators because "tax-receivers" exert more influence over fiscal decisions than do taxpayers. Taxpayers elect legislators and might reasonably expect that those they elect will make the taxpayers' interest in keeping more of what they earn their top priority.
However, tax receivers spend millions on lobbyists who cajole legislators to direct more spending toward their preferred programs. That's why the voice of tax-receivers — who speak loudest at the very moment when tax dollars are appropriated — is always louder than the voice of taxpayers — who speak loudest in November, several months removed from key spending decisions.
Think about it another way: If a family of three has $75,000 in gross income, it pays about $5,700 for all state taxes and fees in one year. For every $1 million state government spends, the cost to this family is about 64 cents. Taxpayers won't expend much effort to save 64 cents, but the program that hopes to receive that $1 million will certainly spend thousands on lobbyists to secure it.
That's why the "concentrated interests" of tax-receivers have an inherent advantage over the "diffused interests" of taxpayers.
For that very reason, it is entirely reasonable for taxpayers to limit the state's taxing and spending authority and to expect those they elect to abide by those limits.
In the past three years, that hasn't happened. Governor Ritter and the Democrat majorities in the legislature have used raw partisan power to deny voters a voice on some $1 billion in higher property taxes and new "fees" on drivers, hospital patients and more. That the activist Colorado Supreme Court approved these tactics simply adds insult to taxpayers' injury.
Nobody said balancing a budget is easy — especially during a recession. However, politicians ask for this responsibility when they campaign for office. When they then use raw partisan power to ignore the voters, they can hardly expect those voters to loosen the few taxpayer protections that remain.
Mark Hillman served as Senate majority leader and state treasurer. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
Prof. Thomas Bidgood of the CCU science faculty, an officer of the American Association of Professional Geologists, draws our attention to an open forum on the contentious issue of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development in Colorado, convened by AIPG in Glenwood Springs this Saturday, August 8. Details and registration here.
This Denver Post ran this major story on hydrofracing last week. Media coverage of the technique, said Bidgood, has tended to be "alarmist and ill-informed -- as is most coverage of resource (hydrocarbon or mineral) issues.
"The current legislation in Congress" he added, "is led by two Colorado representatives--Polis and DeGette who have been openly hostile to the oil and gas industry not only in Colorado but also in the US in general.
"The Post article tries to appear balanced but falls back into alarmism in spite of several references to regulatory agency fact findings that say no adverse consequences credited to Hydrofracing.
"But we all know that alarmists never let the facts stand in the way of a chance to stir up the public. Hence the AIPG conference to inform with the facts." Prof. Bidgood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'76 Blog is an experiment in civic discussion, a new venture still finding its direction. Contributors from inside and outside the CCU community have come forward in the early weeks. Glad to have all of them.
But one thing we're missing is vigorous differences of opinion. The blog would be better with more of that. The differences could be about politics, education, cultural trends, ice cream flavors, or anything else on your mind. Have at it!
The blogging ethos may not be familiar to all our readers. It is, by definition, opinionated, argumentative, often edgy, and necessarily thick-skinned. The analogy is to pamphleteering in 1776 times. The Tom Paines of today are finding their voice again, much to the benefit of the Republic.
Hence the murmured concerns from some folks about "transparency" and "academic freedom" seem rather off-target. I've championed transparency in government, with liberals slowly coming on board, but what it might mean in connection with a policy institute or political chatroom, I'm not quite sure. Likewise, I led the nation in bringing academic freedom issues before state legislatures back in 2003. The principle is dear to me. If someone feels we're violating it, let's discuss that.
The benefit of the Republic, to which I just alluded, is Centennial Institute's objective -- under God, of course -- which goes without saying, but now it's said. The honest conviction of most of us involved here is that faith, family, and freedom aren't very well served by the liberal ideas and individuals currently dominant in America. Your honest conviction may be just the opposite, however.
So, to repeat -- let's discuss that. Articles or comments of any length in any style on any topic from anyone (almost) are welcome. Direct them to John Andrews, Editor, email@example.com. Thanks for your interest.
One hundred students from high schools far and wide are with us on the CCU campus this week for "Freedom 101," a short course on free-market economics conducted by the Foundation for Economic Education, New York-based granddaddy of all the libertarian and conservative think tanks, with the assistance of Prof. Tamara Hannaway of the CCU business school. Here's a firsthand report from the FEE blog. Here's the latest from Hannaway on how liberty fuels prosperity, in the June Centennial Review, page 3.
If you're on Facebook, see hundreds of great photos from CCU's Washington Week by going to Matt Lenell's page. (Must "friend" him to see the pix.) You can also search for the group he founded, Washington Week 2009, and join that. And if you're not on Facebook, you should be. Get with it. Hat tip to Matt for also serving as our videographer throughout the trip, capturing a complete archive of all the briefings and study sessions.
CCU's Washington Week was capped off perfectly on Friday, May 15, as eminent Coloradan Hank Brown treated us to a six-hour roving seminar through public and private areas of the United States Capitol, where he served as a congressman and senator from 1981 to 1997. In the Senate Brown succeeded Bill Armstrong, who is now President of CCU. After retiring from public office he served as president of both UNC and CU, and he continues today as a faculty member at Boulder, where he teaches a political science course on American history and government as brought to life in the US Capitol's art treasures. A short version of that course highlighted the final day of our study trip. Here are five snapshots. (1) Things began with breakfast in the Senate Dining Room under George Washington's gaze from the 1910 stained glass window where the General is seen conferring with Lafayette and Von Steuben. Hank Brown is at right in blue shirt. Seated clockwise from him are CCU delegates Sarah Shibley, Maria Katz, Callista Clark, Dean Bill Saxby, Mike Wheelis, and Natasha Starceski.
(2) Sen. Brown explains the filibuster rule in the ornate Senate Reception Room as Renee Hunt, Samantha Scoggins, and Maria Katz listen. Portraits of Henry Clay (R) and John C. Calhoun keep watch.
(3) Here the Missouri Compromise was forged in 1820 and Sumner was caned by Brooks in 1856, Brown tells CCU history professor Stan Dyck in the Old Senate Chamber, replaced when the Capitol's north wing was added in 1859. Our conservative crew had no trouble obeying the "Keep Right" sign.
(4) Brown provided in-depth commentary on each of the monumental paintings that line the Capitol rotunda, including Trumbull's famous "Signing of the Declaration of Independence." Sacrifices later made by many of the signers bore out their expressed pledge of "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" in the American cause, he noted. (Boy in yellow, center, must have been told that gumdrops periodically rain from the dome.)
(5) Painting of the 1787 Constitutional Convention on a stairwell below the House Chamber occasions another of Hank's history lessons. After lunch with him in the House Dining Room, we headed out for a last bit of sightseeing and shopping before vacating our dorm and boarding the Metro for Dulles Airport and a late flight to Denver. What a way to finish our week!