Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith & Promise
I recently had the pleasure of reading Be the People by Carol M. Swain, PhD. In her daring treatise on American culture, she takes a candid look at the problems our country faces but does not like to speak honestly about. In todayÃ¢ÂÂs America, issues like abortion, divorce, the definition of marriage and family, immigration, racial tension, and religion in the government are seen as sensitive topics. The author faces each of these concerns head-on and examines every angle. She speaks from much personal experience, having seen first-hand both sides of most of these issues. After presenting each topic along with solid data, Biblical backing, and absolutely no sugar coating she proceeds to point out why each has become a problem. She spends the last chapter presenting the solution. It is all in the hands of American citizens.
Oh waitÃ¢ÂÂ¦ ThatÃ¢ÂÂs right. We are a Republic after all.
I began reading this book like any right-winged Republican protestant from Texas. The author was preaching to the Choir! However, Ms. Swain does not speak as one who takes sides. She speaks with authority on each downfall of our culture. Instead of blaming those darn politicians and the establishment, she points to the general decline in culture that has lead to new laws, policies, and the governmentÃ¢ÂÂs current treatment of abortion, race, marriage, and immigration. She puts it back on the people. By the time I reached the end of the book it was simple, obvious. All these problems I see in society are in some part my own fault.
This book really made me think. I had to examine my own beliefs, experiences, and biases put in Biblical, truthful perspective. She lifted the blinders and made me see that sitting my own complaining about the wrong things I see while allowing them to happen is why our nation is where it is today. Too much talk but not enough action.
If you want a clue as to how you can act to better your country, this book is for you.
I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions and thoughts I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255
November 4, 2011
A Call to Action for Christians
It's time for WE the people to BE the people the founding fathers intended for us to be when they framed the Constitution. It is time for all of us to take action and stand up for the Christian values that our country was built upon. If we refuse to defend the moral standards that the 78% of Americans who claim to be Christians should be believing in if they are, in fact, Bible believers, then we should not be shocked when government, society, and media continue to veer away from conservative values. This is the message of Carol M. Swain's book Be the People, published by Thomas Nelson.
Dr. Swain states, Ã¢ÂÂCal Thomas, a Christian syndicated columnist, has written, 'Thirty years of trying to use government to stop abortion, preserve opposite-sex marriage, improve television and movie content and transform culture into the conservative Evangelical image has failed.' The moral decline continues because we haven't quite reached the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans who consider themselves Christians, yet know very little about Biblical teaching, the history of our nation, and its founding documents."
"All we need is for the majority of Americans to stand up and take responsibility for the condition of the nation. 2 Chronicles 7:14 makes the condition for national repentance and redemption quite clear. America needs its religious and political leaders to take responsibility for leading the people in a Godly direction, and the people need to take responsibility for fearing men more than they fear God.Ã¢ÂÂ
These are humbling words, because the truth is that many of us sit impotently by, commenting on how our country has gone to the dogs, or lamenting the loss of "the good old days," yet very few us us actually do anything to try to change the status quo. One of my favorite literary quotes is from Dante, "The hottest places in h*ll are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis remain neutral." With God, neutral, or lukewarm, is not a good thing. He wants us to want what He wants...and to do that we need to go back to His word and see what His plans are, and fit our plans into His plan, instead of trying to fit our limited vision of church and Christianity somewhere into the plan of our prevailing culture.
Dr. Swain also reminds us that "the futures of our children and grandchildren depend on the choices we make today." Will you stand up and walk forth to defend a Biblical vision for our country, or will you sit idly by, believing that Christians are a minority and it does no good to try to be heard because the voice of the liberal nation is so strong? Dr. Swain urges readers to stand up for traditional values and to defend their beliefs. She tackles tough topics in chapters on issues such as racism, immigration, divorce, abortion, moral decline, and homosexuality. She also includes appendices containing the full text of the four of the most important documents our country has at its disposal: The Ten Commandments, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and the Constitution.
As a homeschooling parent who likes to use literature (vs. textbooks) to teach various subjects such as history and political science to my children, I believe that this book would make a solid addition to a high school level government course of studies. Not only are there "Action Points" at the end of each chapter, which makes it easy for readers to think more deeply and personally about what they have read, Carol Swain offers a free online study guide with even more thought-provoking discussion questions which also makes the book ideal for use in a study group or co-op class.
While this book is a pretty heavy read, especially if political science and government are not your strong points, it is not written in a way that will make it impossible for a beginning student of politics to understand. Since poly sci is not my forte, reading the entire book was a challenge for me, though I think I would have had an easier time getting through it if I'd had at least one person with whom to read and discuss its important issues.
If considering the ramifications of failing to stand up for our Christian beliefs by becoming personally involved in the governmental process in ways both big and small is something you feel is important, you should consider reading this book. It will make you think, and I believe you will have a hard time ignoring the call to get involved once you have read the carefully considered, bluntly spoken, well-defended truths presented in Be the People.
Should you feel the need to become involved, Dr. Swain lays out suggested "Steps Toward Reclaiming America," such as being prepared to give an answer to any who question the truth of Biblical principles, reading and understanding our country's important documents, staying up to date with a variety of news sources (and questioning them carefully), consistently making your voice heard by voting, and contacting your representatives to share your opinions on key issues.
Dr. Swain concludes her book by saying, "Our love for God, our families, future generations--for all who will be required to give an account to God--demands that we take seriously our obligation to warn society of God's impending judgment on those who continue to pursue an ungodly course. Let us choose wisely the course we will follow." Strong words, but undeniably true.
September 25, 2011
BE THE PEOPLE, A Book Review
BE the People, A Call to Reclaim America's Faith & Promise, is a call to action for those that many would categorize as Ã¢ÂÂthe religious right.Ã¢ÂÂ What makes this book so interesting, is that the author is not what one would expect. Dr. Swain is an African-American woman raised in the rural South in a shack with no indoor plumbing. She dropped out of high school, has been divorced, raised kids as a single mother, and admits to having an abortion.
Against all odds, Swain earned her GED, and eventually achieved a successful career in academia. She is now a professor of political science and of law at Vanderbilt University. Her Ã¢ÂÂrags to richesÃ¢ÂÂ background is a forceful reminder that the ideals of the Ã¢ÂÂAmerican DreamÃ¢ÂÂ are alive and well; and can be achieved regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds.
The book is broken into two parts; the first is titled Ã¢ÂÂBroken Vows: Forsaking What We Once Knew.Ã¢ÂÂ It focuses on the changing values that Americans have, and how they have departed from those of our founding fathers. She is critical of political correctness, and its censoring of traditional Christian expression of thought in the public sphere. Swain documents how Christian values were integral in the creation of historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
Her pro-life stance is strong, and she documents her own personal battle with guilt and health complications following her own abortion. Swain courageously criticizes faulty arguments on the Ã¢ÂÂnecessityÃ¢ÂÂ of abortion, knowing that she risks losing her academic career by Ã¢ÂÂcoming outÃ¢ÂÂ publicly as a Christian. She compares many of the academic studies on abortion to the documented Ã¢ÂÂjunk scienceÃ¢ÂÂ of climate scientists that have altered data to document climate change, now referred to as Ã¢ÂÂclimategate.Ã¢ÂÂ
Part Two of the book is entitled Ã¢ÂÂBanished Virtues: Reclaiming Truth and Justice in Policy Choices.Ã¢ÂÂ In the second part of the book, Swain amplifies her call for readers to become politically active. At the end of each chapter she includes Ã¢ÂÂAction PointsÃ¢ÂÂ, which have suggested readings, and topics for small group discussions. She also prints the link to her website for more discussion items.
Swain presents a strong spiritual message of taking action in society. Although heavily centered on political issues and activism, she also encourages readers to be openly Christian in the business world. She laments that major media is heavily slanted toward secular humanist culture, and that merely winning at the ballot box will not counter what she considers the deterioration of our culture.
The last 90 pages of the book are filled with what I consider Ã¢ÂÂclutter.Ã¢ÂÂ She includes the text of the Ten Commandments, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States of America (1787) as appendices. This is followed by traditional style notes documenting sources and an index.
As important as the founding documents are, I do not feel it necessary to have them printed in this book. She could have simply stopped with encouraging her readers to read them. All are readily available on the Internet and at libraries everywhere.
Despite this, I found her book thought provoking. Her unique perspectives on poverty, race, and women's issues are something that conservatives and liberals alike can benefit from. I recommend this book, and give it four stars on a five star scale.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255 Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
September 18, 2011
The Call for America's Return from Spiritual Exile
In her newest book, Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith and Promise, Dr. Carol Swain outlines the social, political, and spiritual issues that are currently threatening the viability of the United States of America and all that it embodies.
With straightforward thinking, Swain sets forth informative chapters in which she discusses the negative impact the liberal media and government has had on abortion, the family, illegal immigration, racism, affirmative action, and national sovereignty. Each individual topic is covered extensively. For instance, in the illegal immigration chapter she highlights amnesty, tourist birthers, rule of law, anchor babies, employer sweeps, etc.,
Swain writes with an authority and credibility. She was the second of twelve children and the child of parents who could boast but 3rd grade and 8th grade educations. Swain, herself, dropped out of high school, became a teenage mother, had an abortion, and two divorces before she understood she had the ability to achieve greater and live better. She obtained her GED, went to community college, attended a four-year university, and later graduated from law school. She gave her life to Christ in 1999. She is currently a political science and law professor at Vanderbilt University.
Swain knows well both her subject matter and audience. She is authentic and knowledgeable. And though she highlights the many weak points in America's social and political structure and the need for their overhaul, Swain clearly relates that it all must begin with national repentance: "With concerted effort and a plan of action, we can help restore America to its former glory. We must being with foundational recognition that we have sinned and participated in great evils..."
Complete with an appendix containing the Ten Commandments, Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution, Be the People is a motivational tool designed to activate Christians to speak up and stand up for that yesteryear America of pilgrim dreams and biblical principles. Be the People will resonate with Christians across the country whose highest patriotic desire is for the United States of America to leave it's spiritual exile and return to its God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255
August 22, 2011