De Facto Shariah Law in America

The full article mentioned below is well worth reading. As I contemplate this season of giving thanks — and there is much for which I personally am thankful — I think we are again reminded of the juxtaposition of religious freedom and the other freedoms guaranteed in our constitutional republic. Continue reading “De Facto Shariah Law in America”

The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag

It’s Flag Day. Notice all the flags around town? Many changes to the Pledge of Allegiance have occurred on Flag Days past, including insertion of the phrase “under God.”

On September 8, 1892 a Boston-based youth magazine “The Youth’s Companion” published a 22-word recitation for school children to use during planned activities the following month to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.   Under the title “The Pledge to the Flag”, the composition was the earliest version of what we now know as the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

via The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag.

State Board of Education — Revisionist History in Progress

An interesting piece from Liberty Counsel. (Note 1)  I saw a portion of the Mike Huckabee show last night and a LC spokesman was talking about this problem.  Pay attention:  The SBOE — which approves standard curriculum textbooks — is in the process of making changes that you should know about.  America has a rich past, indeed its beginning, founded on Judeo-Christian values and the continued assault from many sources to obliterate this history is both disturbing and fraudulent. That our own State Board of Education might be participating is a horrifying indictment of the “government school system.”  Awaken, silent majority, awaken to this threat and do something about it.

Some of the suggestions that have come forward at various times include:

* Removing references to Daniel Boone, General George Patton, Nathan Hale, Columbus Day, and Christmas.

* Including the cultural impact of hip hop music, ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow, and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.

* Replacing the term “American” with “Global Citizen”– stating that students need to be shaped “for responsible citizenship in a global society” without any mention of citizenship in American society.

* Replacing expansionism and free enterprise with imperialism and capitalism.

The Board’s next meeting is in March and the final reading and adoption of the social studies guidelines will be in May.

Make your voice heard now, before the next meeting. Please call the board members at 512-463-9734 and encourage them to promote traditional, pro-American language in their guidelines, or you may email them at

via Liberty Counsel. ( accessed on 2/8/2010)

The ability of the Texas SBOE to, essentially, set the social studies/history textbooks for the nation is a huge issue this year.  As was pointed out on the Liberty Counsel site,

As Texas is a leader in textbooks, most other states purchase the same educational materials. The textbook controversy in Texas affects every American because, to have a bright future, we must know our past. America has a rich past founded on Judeo-Christian values and to forget them, or worse, to distort them, will doom our future. Those who want to reshape America begin by rewriting our past. We repeat the mistakes of the past when we are ignorant of them.

You can see the members of the SBOE on their site.

I am looking for the resources to see the actual process and the specific current proposals … if anyone has links, let me know.


(1) Liberty Counsel’s “About” page states

Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the family. Established in 1989, Liberty Counsel is a nationwide organization with offices in Florida, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and hundreds of affiliate attorneys across the Nation. – Obama Taking U.S. in ‘Descent into Marxism,’ Soviet-Era Newspaper Commentary Says

( – A commentary published in the once-official newspaper of the Soviet Union heralded America’s “descent into Marxism” citing the United States’ takeover of General Motors, poor education standards, and the election of Barack Obama as president.

via – Obama Taking U.S. in ‘Descent into Marxism,’ Soviet-Era Newspaper Commentary Says.

The lead sentences in the article explaining how the descent will be (has been?) accomplished:

  • “First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system….
  • Secondly, “their faith in God was destroyed,….
  • “The final collapse,” said the Pravda article, “has come with the election of Barack Obama.  … spending and money printing …  If this keeps up … America at best will resemble the Wiemer Republican and at worst Zimbabwe.”

And if anyone doubts that Marxism is to be avoided, take it from someone who should know:

Russian “Prime Minister Putin, less than two months ago, warned Obama and UK’s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster,” the article said.

North Platte, Nebraska — a place in WWII history

I am a proud son of the Greatest Generation — those people who endured and brought us out of World War II and into prosperity as truly the greatest nation the world has ever known. My father, like the parents of most of my friends, served in WW2 and there can be no doubt that these were great people for they endured hardship in battle yet came home — the lucky ones did — to work and prosper and, amazingly, never did they complain! They just worked and had an ethical structure that they tried to pass on to their children. I think it stuck to me, mostly, and I’m thankful for it. But then there’s North Platte, Nebraska. What about that?

The folks there took up a cause to support soldiers and sailors just like my father, and boy did they ever do it up right. I had never heard of North Platte before, at least not in this light, and the story is truly amazing. The YouTube video follows below and you really need to spend the 7 minutes it will take from your busy day.

And when you’re done, thank a solder, a sailor, an airman or marine.  Now grab a tissue, pull up a chair, and click ‘play.’

Sources and influences of religion in modern law

As a Christian and a judge of 12 years and lawyer licensed since 1973 (gee, that sounds like a long time ago), it is no surprise that, as with many lawyers, I have an interest in the influence of religious principles and history on the law.  I was asked to talk in our adult forum at church tomorrow about religion and the law and put together a written piece to guide the discussion. Besides, everyone likes a party favor. The PDF of the document is in my shared files and you’re welcome to read it and I invite your comments here.

I briefly discuss what is undoubtedly the earliest recorded roots of our modern jurisprudence, the Code of Hammurabi — an early king of Babylonia. The Ten Commandments are briefly compared. There then follows an outline of some of the principles of our modern procedural rules that existed during the trials of Christ — all of which were broken in order to ensure his conviction and crucifixion.


We have to say goodbye, R.I.P. Vogey

(the following was used as one of many remembrances at Robert’s funeral on February 16, 2009.)

Robert Voglino
Robert Voglino

Goodbye, Vogey, but thanks for the richness you gave to our lives. Our friend Robert Voglino may be gone but he was the sort of fellow never to be forgotten.

People who have died are often eulogized as having been special in various ways. In Vogey’s case it’s true. His Italian heritage (thus his “Godfather” nickname in Rotary) created an often bigger than life persona, yet gentle as a teddy bear with a charisma we will all remember.

How he came into my life was literally to define our years together and he, and those connections, are worth remembering and sharing. I want to share a unique view of Vogey from that perspective.

It was the spring of 2002 and a motorcycle tour through the Davis Mountains in far West Texas was planned. Mike Atkinson suggested that a friend of his come along, riding one of Mike’s extra bikes. Mike always had extra bikes. So along come Robert and Beth — unknown to me at the time — and away we go.

As motorcycling is more about the ride than the destination we rode and enjoyed the stimulation of seeing God’s world in that special way. Not much visiting, but a lot of riding. Until dinner at the Olympia in Fort Davis.

Serendipitiously seated together, the conversation naturally was a recap of the ride and compliments to the meal we were enjoying, and then, then the conversation turned to religion and church. We quickly discovered that we both were churchmen (little did I know the extent of his involvement) and talked of spiritual things. I soon asked “where do you attend church?” Robert answered: “Trinity, in Marble Falls.” “You’re kidding,” I said.

Laughing, it turned out that they had been attending the 10:30 service for about a year while Jennifer and I always attended the 8:30 service. I would eventually discover the depth of Robert’s spirituality.

An adult Sunday School class was eventually formed — and they let both of us attend! 🙂  I then discovered Robert’s knowledge and understanding of the Bible and of God’s will. He would often become quite emotional when speaking of his God. You see, they had a tight relationship — an unbreakable bond.

We would come to spend weeks at a time on motorcycle camping tours covering thousands of miles at a time and encompassing the entire United States west of the Mississippi.

At Eureka Springs, AR
At Eureka Springs, AR

Sharing that many meals and campsite venues meant sharing a lot of stories and feelings. We quickly became the best of friends and I understood was a large man this was, this robust Italian fellow nicknamed “the Godfather” who was truly a son of God.

You know, God must ride a motorcycle. Robert and I always marvelled at God’s world as revealed from atop the throbbing machines as we alternately dipped into valleys and crested mountain tops.

Jim Bridger National Forest
Jim Bridger National Forest

We saw God’s hand in the outdoor vistas we soaked up and in the characters we always met out on the road. But God has a sense of humor, even on the road.

It was 2004 and we had just left a wonderful vacation time with our families in Lake City, CO. Headed north and eventually to go Westerly, we passed up our intended stop for the night and pushed onward toward Craig, CO located on the northern plains of Colorado. It got dark on us, not a good thing in Colorado, and when we finally approached a town and saw a KOA we instinctively pulled in. We pitched our tents (mine as far as possible from his — you see, Robert could snore with the best of them), took warm showers and turned into our respective tents. ” ‘night Robert.”  “Goodnight, Gil – God bless.” (as Robert was prone to do).

Within 30 minutes, only exchanging a few quick reminisces of the day, we were both asleep. I could tell he was asleep, you see. Remember the snoring thing? Earplugs back in, I was soon also asleep. Then it began.

First a faint clatter. Then I heard the whistle. The clickety-clack. The distinctive clickety-clack and whistle of a train. And suddenly it was clear that it was whizzing past us just yards away. It was so close my initial fear was that we had pitched tents ON the tracks! Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, woo-whoo and on and on. And on.

We shouted to one another and laughed about our choice of campsite. We remarked about the length of the train. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, woo-whoo and on and on. And on. Then the laughter began. He laughed, I laughed, and then it became contagious as this train of at least 2,000, maybe 3,000 cars rolled by. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, woo-whoo and on and on. And on. By now our laughter was not only contagious but hysterically out of control.

We laughed often, but that one took the cake for all time. And we had more adventures than time here allows. And we always talked. We talked of God, country and family. Always family.

We all know what a multi-dimensional person Robert was, but he could be summed up in a single term: integrity. His moral compass pointed one direction – straight up – and nobody questioned his integrity.

My only regret is not knowing Robert, Beth, Jackie and their entire family — sooner. But I treasure the years we had. You see he was the kind of fella that if God had come along and said “I want to send a guy into your life who will become your best friend, one with whom you can share your faith and your love of the open road, one with whom you can be totally comfortable —  but here’s the deal, you can only have him for about six years because after that, I’ll need a little better class of Italian biker up here” — would I have taken the deal?

You bet I would. God speed, Vogey. May your engine stay in tune with that throb of the motor and gentle purr of the exhaust with the wind always at your back and the sun on your face, as you wind along God’s highway.

The obituary:

Robert Voglino

May 19, 1947 – February 12, 2009
Robert Voglino, 61, of Kingsland, went home to be with God on Thursday, February 12, 2009. He passed away at home surrounded by his family, after a courageous battle with brain cancer.
Robert was born May 19, 1947 in Hamilton, Texas to Jackie and Albert “Shorty” Voglino. He grew up in Odessa, graduated from Permian High School in 1965, and from Howard Payne University in 1970. There he met Beth Gardner, his wife to be for 38 years. The couple moved to Ft. Worth, Texas where Robert attended Southwestern Theological Seminary.
In 1972 Robert joined the U. S. Air Force and served in Big Spring, Texas. He remained in the Air Force reserves, retiring with the rank of 1st Lieutenant in 1982. Robert, Beth and their family remained in West Texas moving to Kingsland in 1985, to enjoy living in the Texas Hill Country.
Robert enjoyed a successful career in sales, and retired in 2000 from Central Transportation in Austin as a moving consultant. He joined the Century 21 Real Estate team in Kingsland, building a clientele until his illness. Robert was a charter member of the Daybreak Rotary Club of Marble Falls.
He is survived by his wife, Beth Voglino; daughters: April Burney and husband Brian; Annah Jimenez and husband Anthony; Esther McCormick and husband David; granddaughter Avah Jimenez; mother Jackie Voglino; brother Richard Voglino; sisters Toni Freels, Roslyn Voglino; many uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and numerous friends.
Robert lived his life fully and deeply. He enjoyed a personal relationship with God and shared this with many others. He loved spending time with his family. In a recent prayer he thanked God saying he was a “blessed man, more than [he] could possibly have dreamed.”
God gave Robert a beautiful singing voice. He sang with wonderful friends and groups throughout his life, the first being the Sherwood Singers of Odessa, the final one being the Hill Country Blenders.
Robert impacted many lives throughout his journey on earth. His passion for life, his steady personal strength, his ability to be a true friend, his being the light in his wife’s eyes, and his love, guidance and faith as a dad, will all be greatly missed.

Earning a school desk

This is from an email recently forwarded to me and I thought it worthy enough to preserve on this site. The lesson here is that there are many ways to demonstrate to young people what freedom, and the sacrifices that preserve our freedom, is all about. It takes moral courage and the strength of your convictions to speak up and speak out as this teacher and the superindentent did. I would hope that our school authorities would do similarly, not cowering to the forces that speak falsely against such endeavors.

Hooray for this Teacher! We need more like her!
In September 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social
studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, AR, did
something not to be forgotten.
On the first day of school, with permission of the school
superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all
of the desks out of the classroom.
The kids came into first period and there were no desks. They obviously
looked around and said, “Ms. Cothren, where’s our desk?” And she said,
“You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn them.”
They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.”
“No,” she said.
“Maybe it’s our behavior.”
And she told them, “No, it’s not even your behavior.”
And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the
classroom. Second period, same thing, third period too. By early
afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren’s class to
find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of
the classroom.
The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They
were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room.
And she says, “Throughout the day no one has really understood how you
earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily.” She said, “Now
I’m going to tell you.”
Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it,
and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into
that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those
school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the
time they had finished placing those desks, th ose kids, for the first
time I think perhaps in their lives, understood how they earned those
Martha said, “You don’t have to earn those desks. These guys did it for
you. They put them out there for you, but it’s up to you to sit here
responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because
they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don’t ever forget it.”

Friends, I think sometimes we forget that the freedoms that we have are
freedoms not because of celebrities. The freedoms are because of
ordinary people who did extraordinary things, who loved this country
more than life itself, and who not only earned a school desk for a kid
at the Robinson High School in Little Rock, but who earned a seat for
you and me to enjoy this great land we call home, this wonderful nation
that we better love enough to protect and preserve with the kind of
conservative, solid values and principles that made us a great nation.
“We live in the Land of the Free because of the brave.”

According to this is a true story first related by candidate Mike Huckabee during a speech in 2007. See for details.

Iraq and Vietnam: a comparison for the Gratification Generation

(first draft) The article referenced below is one of the most thoughtful pieces, loaded with facts and clear analysis, about why Iraq is NOT Vietnam and the trouble in America that will plague our society and threaten our freedom until we excise it from our collective psyche. It stimulated me to consider further what will affect this country far beyond the current war.

The Truth About Iraq and Vietnam

By Alan W. Dowd | 8/3/2007

When it became apparent after 9/11 that the US would strike back not just at
the tendrils of terror but also at the roots of terror—regimes like
Afghanistan’s Taliban and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq—I wondered if my
countrymen had the stomach and stamina for what was to come. This is,
after all, the land of fast food and FedEx, which helps explain why the
quarter-century before 9/11 was marked by a series of push-button,
almost-bloodless wars. In the shadow of Vietnam, each mini-war
conditioned the American people to expect less blood and less sacrifice
than the previous conflict. And this, in turn, conditioned the American
military to be overly cautious, leading inevitably to more low-risk,
low-impact wars. In Iraq and Afghanistan, that cycle has ended.

Dowd offers an excellent statistical analysis of the objective difference between the two and goes deeper to explain much of the reason why Americans have little stomach for what has turned into a real war rather than the mini-wars of the Clinton era. However, one factor remains unclear to me — one which is troubling in regard to America’s future ability not simply to defend itself, but to continue to thrive at all. First a point made well by Dowd.

Dowd wrote:

I wondered if my countrymen had the stomach and stamina for what was to
come. This is, after all, the land of fast food and FedEx ….

The “land of fast food and FedEx” speaks volumes about where we are today in America’s approach to life. Add to that the internet — indeed the source of this article that I find so fascinating about about which I write at 5AM in my bathrobe, blithley sipping coffee made in an “instant brew” coffee machine (Starbucks, just down the street and soon to be on every corner, was not yet open) — and we see the all-pervasive perspective of our society today.

What is the impact of having that sort of perspective that pervades the very core of our being as Americans? Look at the fundamental difference between Iraq and Vietnam: In Vietnam the country had no understanding of why we were there. In my two tours on the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk I sure never heard a good explanation. Yet in Iraq both the reason and purpose for our presence is clear notwithstanding the political bickering that clouds the issue for the personal gain of professional politicians. As Dowd points out: we were attacked, the retaliatory focus was (at least at one time) clear, and this country formally declared war albeit lacking a nation state to name on a piece of paper.

And still the country tires so easily once the laser-guided video show is over? Incredible! Absolutely incredible that our nation has become so corrupted with a self-absorbed populace that such is even possible. Compare that with the Greatest Generation as so eloquently described by Tom Brokaw. World War II brought victory, peace and unimagined prosperity on the shoulders of one generation. My parents were part of that generation, and part of that effort. My generation was then caught up in Vietnam, the 60’s, and the social/moral decline which, when combined with the Gratification Generation culture, has led us and those following into a fog from which we may not be able to emerge.

A not-so-fine state of affairs and upon whose shoulders does the blame fall? It falls on all of us. On the silent majority now so worried about “political correctness” that our tongues are frozen and incapable of speaking out. On the media where news and editorial opionion are hopelessly blurred. On the Gratification Generation so consumed in its self-interest that it barely has time for 30-second sound bites of news and information. On professional politicians who have co-opted the notion of the citizen-legislator fashioned by the Founding Fathers. And in sum, on the decline of patriotism — the love of God and Country — around which this nation formerly rallied.

We had, and we still have, more that binds us in common in America than divides us, if we would only recognize and appreciate it. Will the Gratification Generation allow that to come to the surface once again? I hope so.