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What an honor it is to publish this post! I wish to extend my appreciation to Andrew Grago(my Uncle) and to Mr. Albert Lytle for their gallant service to this country! Dad(your brother) and Grandma would have been proud. I just wish they would have permitted you to elaborate on your survival experiences at Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge. Thank you, Uncle Andy, for ALL that you have done. (I hope you folks enjoy reading this article.)

My Uncle Andy, age 93! (He still kicking!)

My Uncle Andy, age 93! (He still kicking!)

Under normal operations of this blog, I refrain from posting information on fund-raisers and charities simply because this blog does not serve that purpose; however, this story grabbed my attention because of the nature of the illness that this child is stricken with. It is Diabetes. A few folks in my family have suffered and died from this dreadful disease. This young child is seeking a specially trained dog to detect when she has dangerously low blood sugar levels…this is actually too much for to me write, so, I’ll stop. If you can, please consider giving a donation to her MANDATORY cause. I graciously thank ALL of you in advance for your kind considerations. Here is the link on the story from my local newspaper:

Here is the link for her church that is accepting the donations:

Happy April 1st!

Today, on this 1st of April 2015, is National Poetry Month. I know not who reads all of my posts or who visits this web-site on a traditional basis; however, I am HONESTLY hoping that some of you out there are poets! If this is the circumstance and your calling, I implore you to share your work with others in a way that is comfortable and rewarding to you. Read a poem today. Read a poem to a friend. Read a poem to a child. Read a poem to a sick person. Read a poem to someone who is unable to read. Today, celebrate the most precious and enchanted gift that exists in any language, POETRY! Let us commence the celebration and festivities of our languages! national-poetry-month

Who Was Saint Patrick?

To many Irish March 17th is a bit more than Clovers, Leprechauns, and Guinness. This is the “traditional” feast day of Saint Patrick. He is, without question, one of the most celebrated and theatrical saints of the church: but who was he?To begin with, Saint Patrick was NOT Irish; he was born a Briton by race(an ancient group of Celtic people inhabiting Britain and not Ireland) around the year 389. He was taught the scriptures in early childhood, (it is thought by his parents) but did not take them seriously until adulthood. At the age of 17, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold into slavery. Terrified by his experiences and residing in a strange land,he commenced in a rigorous and zealous practice of fasting and prayer;it is claimed by some medieval writers that Patrick would often recite over a hundred prayers a day to God during his captivity.On such occasion, during the night, Patrick claimed he heard a “voice” instructing him to flee his captives and board a ship. As a result, he found himself taking up residence with the French monks of Lerins Island where he stayed for an unknown number of years and adopting Monasticism before returning to England.According to two Latin letters written by Patrick himself, he had a “vision” of Ireland in which he was instructed to convert the Irish to Christianity.However, the Christianization of Ireland commenced a few years before Patrick set foot on the island. The Irish Bishop, (according to The Chronicle of Ireland)Palladius, arrived in Ireland in the year 431 from orders of Pope Celestine 1, and Patrick followed a year later; there is a continued dispute among historians as to what actually took place, but the consensus acknowledges them both on the island at the same time. As a result of their actions, Ireland became a center of cultural and religious activity for the next several hundred years; Latin and Greek texts were copied and preserved by Irish monks and “manuscript illumination” was perfected in a time when the rest of Europe wandered aimlessly through the “Dark Ages.” England, Scotland, and the Frankish Empire were eventually Christianized by later Irish missionaries, the most notable, Saint Columba.Saint Patrick’s residence during this time in Ireland was an arduous one; his life was constantly under threat, he was beaten and robbed, and was deprived of basic lodgings and affinity. He was not favored by Irish kings because he refused to accept any gifts, land, or money, converted wealthy women, and sons of the kings. Interestingly, however, it is in this period that Saint Patrick emerges as a worker of miracles and a teacher to the pagan tribes of Ireland that are still imputed to him. His use of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity and his expulsion of snakes from the island are still highly associated with his character. Throughout the following centuries, Saint Patrick would continue to colour Irish culture and identity. His clever tactics for conversion and obedience to Christ is both controversial and multifaceted in Irish culture and folklore. Nonetheless, he remains one of the most beloved and revered saints of Christianity.Despite these impeccable testimonies, he has not been officially canonized as a saint by any Pope! March 17th,460 AD, is believed to be the date of his death; Irish tradition tells us that he baptised over 120,000 people in his lifetime. He is said to be buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Ireland. “La le Padraig!” For more information on Saint Patrick, I recommend a book I read a few years back.

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick


“Were our Founding Fathers really atheists and deists?”


This is a question in which I take no delight in pursuing,and one that Facebook will not allow me to answer in the manner that is appropriately formatted;they only allow so many words for me to post.I shall give a simple abridgement of an article I wrote several years ago.This seems to be a “hot”topic among folks.(A lot of research has gone into this matter for each Founder,and it poses absurd difficulties in their personal objectives;however,I feel with a certain degree of confidence,I can compose a satisfactory response.)


The first statement to remember is this: Contrary to popular opinion(in my view),separation of church and state is NOT in the Constitution!What it does say is “Congress shall make no law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion or prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof.”In other words,there is no “state sanctioned” religion;no one is permitted to force you to believe in anything;that is,FREEDOM of religion,not FREEDOM from religion!(There is a difference!)


What is a deist? In most of the superficial dictionaries and encyclopedias in current use explain it like using this definition:Well,actually,the terms deist,atheist,and agnostic appear as synonyms,lol!Maybe a God who is far away,not intervening in human affairs,but is out there.Maybe there is an actual God;however,his existence cannot be proven.Or,maybe a God who created the universe and the world…and left it up to us to do as we see fit.


Let’s start with John Jay,the 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court(the architect of our legal system;it amazes me how many people actually do not know he was a Founder!),who was a devout member of the Anglican Church. “In forming and settling my belief relative to the doctrines of Christianity,I adopted no articles from creeds but such only as,on careful examination,I found to be confirmed by the Bible.”Does this sound like something a DEVOUT deist or agnostic would say?Furthermore,John Jay was (like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams)an ardent student of William Blackstone,the most influential figure in our legal system,who was also a Christian.(His “Commentaries on the Laws of England” played a major role in the infancy of the American legal system.Blackstone viewed the study of law as a type of Christian service.{Regent University Law Review,Vol.13,pgs 169-170.}


Thomas Jefferson: “I am a real Christian,that is to say,a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”While many books and articles explore this claim,it is candid that Jefferson refers to himself as a Christian and NOT a Deist.Of of the hundreds of letters I have personally researched myself(he wrote over 20,000!),Jefferson never gives me the inclination that he is a deist;albeit,his is famously known for his “Jefferson Bible”,in which he allegedly “alters” and “omits”the sayings and miracles attributed to Jesus.This,I must tell you,is Jefferson’s “theological” differences with the divinity of Jesus!WE ALL HAVE THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES WITH OUR SAVIOR! Lutherans,Baptists,Born Again Evangelicals,Roman Catholics,Mormons,Eastern OrthodoxMuslims,Hindus,Buddhists,etc,all fall into this category.That is another matter altogether.It does not permit any historian to put Jefferson in a atheistic or agnostic death camp,does it? Jefferson further explains,”The practice of morality,being necessary for the well being of society,He{God}has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain.We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in HIS discourses.” The question is this:Are you still a Christian if you disagree with aspects of Christianity? Thomas Jefferson(as well as the rest of the Founders)certainly thought so! In the New Testament,Peter and Paul had quite “considerable”differences with who Jesus was,didn’t they?Paul developed an ENTIRE theology on his perceptions of Jesus that are still in use today.Does this mean that one of them was not a believer in Christ?Certainly not!(You see where I’m going with this???) (Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (Boston: Grey & Bowen, 1830), Vol. III, p. 506, to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803.)


George Washington: Washington was an open promoter of Christianity.In his speech on May 12,1779,he opined that what children needed to learn was the religion of Jesus Christ,and to learn this would make them”happier and greater than they already are.” He also says that “To the distinguished character of patriot,it should be our HIGHEST glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian”;and when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on June 8th,1783,he reminded the new nation that “without a humble imitation”we “can never hope to be a happy nation.” “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers,we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion.”There are countless references in the correspondence of his friends of Washington in daily attendance of church services;however,like his close friend,Thomas Jefferson,he was plagued with theological opinions and duties of sacrament.Again,not qualifying him to be in possession of deistic influence. (George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XI, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 1778. In my view,the best “recent” biography of Washington is  Washington:A Life by Ron Chernow,published by Penguin Books,2011.It won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2011.)


John Adams: “The Christian religion is,above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times,the religion of wisdom,virtue,equity and humanity. The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.I will avow that I then believed,and now believe,that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. Our Constitution was made only for a MORAL and RELIGIOUS people.It is wholly inadequate to the Government of any other.” (Remember,Adams was a Congregationalist,you know what that is,don’t you? You should!) ( John Adams, Works, Vol. III, p. 421, diary entry for July 26, 1796. Yes,I still use ancient and authentic sources;I have no reason to assume that the quotes have changed For a comprehensive and theatrical biography,I suggest John Adams by David McCullough,published by Simon&Schuster,2002.)


Alexander Hamilton: He was certainly no Deist! Along with the Rev.James Bayard,he formed the “Christian Constitutional Society”(something NOT mentioned in high school history textbooks!)to help spread over the WORLD the two things which Hamilton was convinced that made America flawless:(1)Christianity,and(2)a Constitution formed under Christianity!Hamilton’s death in a duel thwarted his plan to commence a ministry to promote the welfare of Christian government(didn’t know that,did you?).(John M. Mason, A Collection of the Facts and Documents Relative to the Death of Major General Alexander Hamilton (New York: Hopkins and Seymour, 1804), pp. 48-50. Also worth checking out is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow,published by Penguin Books,2005.)


Benjamin Franklin: In his plan of “Education in Public Schools in Pennsylvania”,Franklin insisted that schools teach “the necessity of a “public” religion…and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others,ancient or modern.” (What has happened to this???) It was Franklin who proposed the Biblical inscription for the Seal of the United States,even though the seal itself was designed by William Barton and Charles Thomson.He also put forth the idea of a paid chaplain in Congress.”As to Jesus of Nazareth,my opinion of whom you particularly desire,I think the system of morals and his religion as He left them to us,the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.” (Benjamin Franklin, Works of Benjamin Franklin, John Bigelow, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), p. 185, to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790. I HIGHLY recommend Walter Isaacson,Benjamin Frankin:An American Life,Simon&Schuster,2004.This work is an extraordinary transformation of the Franklin we view currently.)


James Madison:Madison was trained for the ministry under the guidance of Rev.Dr.John Witherspoon;his (Madison)writings are replete with the declaration of his faith in God and Christ.Madison was deeply ignited with the idea that members of public service should be “fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”Here is a quote by Madison that is grossly misquoted by revisionist historians: “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.” [Pres. James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785]Madison did,in fact,hold an incredulous view on “ecclesiastical establishments”;that is,he was deeply suspicious of them in intervening on one’s personal faith,as well as establishing a person’s faith.Although Madison did suggest the contention for a “wall” between church and state,modern as well as the revisionist historian demonstrate insalubrious connotations of its pretext.Madison held a confident conviction that the “wall”was to prevent Congress from passing a NATIONAL law to establish a NATIONAL religion!(There is an awesome web-site that I use for the papers and correspondence of James Madison that I wish to share. It is


Samuel Adams:(Yes,he was also a Founding Father!) “I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. The name of the Lord(says the scripture)is a strong tower;thither the righteous flee and are safe{Proverbs 18:10}.Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.” (Letters of Delegates to Congress: August 16, 1776-December 31, 1776, Paul H. Smith, editor (Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1979), Vol. 5, pp. 669-670, Samuel Adams to Elizabeth Adams on December 26, 1776.

Another charismatic work is Samuel Adams:Father of the American Revolution by Mark Puls,published by Paulgrave Macmillan,2009.)


John Hancock:(Yes,he is considered a Founding Father;his presence was crucial in the strategic as well as the financial development of the American Revolution.Along with Robert Morris,{from which Robert Morris University in Moon Township,Pa is named after},another Founding Father,they were the two richest gentlemen in Colonial America, and certainly possessed the means to support(financially)a war.You didn’t know that?) Hancock’s father was a Presbyterian minister and was,therefore,well versed in Scripture. “Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state,I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement…that all nations may bow to the sceptre of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled his glory.”  (John Hancock, A Proclamation For a Day of Public Thanksgiving 1791, given as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Also review “The Summer of 1787:The Men Who Invented the Constitution(The Simon and Schuster America Collection)” by David O. Stewart,published by Simon and Schuster,2008.)


With all of this said,it it paramount that I NOT be understood as asserting,demonstrating,or suggesting that Christianity is the official religion of the United States;on the contrary,no OFFICIAL religion exists!However,it is the architect of Judeo_Christian principles that govern,guide,influence,and evolutionize our democracy;I cannot think of a single nation,with the exception of the United States,where this has been exemplified as well as it has these past two centuries than that of this singular nation we call America! The Founders recognized all too well the failures of the churches of England of telling people how to worship and administer their faith under authority! John Milton,the greatest of the English poets, zealously attempted to abolish what the English churches had in place at the time! In his infamous essay “Aeropagitica”(a speech of the freedom of speech that is,perhaps,the greatest written in the English language),Milton called for the “liberty to know to utter,and to argue freely according to conscience,above all liberties.”This applied,however,to only the conflicting Protestant sects,and not to atheists,Jews,Muslims or Catholics;that is,Milton favored for disestablishment as the only effective way for achieving “broad”toleration of religious diversity.However,rather than a “forced”contention on a man’s conscience or reason,the Government should use “persuaded force”of the Gospel. (There is the difference the Founders recognized! Not to discredit Milton in any way,he was just a passionate Puritan! We all know what happens in this case…they came to America!)


You are possessed with the FREEDOM of choice;the Founders,ALL of them,despite their differences in practice of faith,theology or worship rituals(which we ALL have),could not comprehend or tolerate an “established” religion in the New Republic.That said,I do not believe that they were “Bible Thumping”Christians;however,to categorize them as deists,atheist or agnostic, is a GROSS injustice and vehemently undermines their principles of character and conduct.I shall not take their religious invocations and decide to play them as a requiem,when they should be recited as an encomium.

In closing this post,my examples and quotes and sources are to the benefit of the construction of my own paradigm,but I do not claim them to be authoritative.Liberty is an instrument over which a series of internal and external impressions are driven;as a result,this greatly magnifies its drama and intensity.Like virtue,liberty is the propinquity which pours forth from the cascade of reason,from which we all drink of its source.As an astute observer of the architects of our Democracy,their recurrent observations in the above article are pulsatingly regulated by their intense but sophisticated minds.It is my opinion that I see no viable reason to conclude that they pursued or engrafted any episode of atheism or deisim.On the contrary,my examples are replete of the opposite.That said,should it be your will(or Liberty),you can agree to disagree.Do your own research and careful thinking.All versions,whether complanate or distend,exist to appease your satisfaction of our Founders.

American Sniper

I’m spending my Saturday afternoon engaged in this work;it was recommended to me by neighbor who was a US Marine sniper in Vietnam. He doesn’t talk much about the war;therefore,I’m surprised he actually read this,albeit his military background has,once again,called him to duty.He is an avid reader and we have engaged in many literary dialogues.(Beaver County is full of badasses! They just don’t post on Facebook!)Obviously,this book has received a lot of attention.Anyways,I must say…the author appears to be highly xenophobic;I’m not injecting a diatribe on his character,just an observation.I’m in the infancy of his narrative;however,it is replete with sharp objectivity and devotion to his country and fighting unit.I actually know a few Navy Seals and one(former)Green Beret.I’ve always held an intense and HUGE fascination for Special Operations.That said,I often think of my father and uncles who have served and the “selection” of stories they shared. My late father told me HORROR stories of Hiroshima;he actually walked on that apocalyptic ground. He told me of the many 5 and 6 year old children he’d seen whose faces were so badly burned that “they made the elephant man look like a beauty queen!” (A real quote from my father! He NEVER got that story out of his head…). His brother was a survivor of Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge;he will tell you stories that can make your hair fall out! My Uncle Bob was a Medic in Korea;he NEVER talked about it.All my father would tell me was that he saw MANY men bleed to death…and couldn’t do a thing to stop it! There was simply not enough Medics for everyone.My other Uncle Bob was a survivor of the “Tet Offensive” in Vietnam…do you know how many American soldiers were killed during this military operation? (Look it up!) The point is this: All these stories are fascinatingly subjective;each one is unique and solo. I mention these folks from my family only for ONE reason:they did not consider themselves heroes,just doing a job;my father always told me that the “REAL HEROES” were the ones who never made it home.I’m not certain where this SEAL is gong with his book;however,I sure wanna find out.I will close with this: WE are all so lucky to possess ALL the CHOICES we have;we have the CHOICE to worship ANY God we see fit,to read a BIBLE(King James,NIV,Gita,Koran,Book of Mormon,etc!)of our CHOICE,to SAY and WRITE what ails us,to SPIT on the VERY flag that those who died defending and not blink an eye! Show me a country where you can demonstrate this paradigm,without consequences(like getting your head cut off or thrown off of a building!Yes,I’m referring to my earlier post,but I”M NOT GAY! However,I defend EVERYONE’S RIGHT TO EXIST!)?Thank the God you have the RIGHT to worship that you reside in a country where this is granted;more importantly,thank those who gave FREELY to you (that you did not earn yourself)and have preserved that right…The United States has many graveyards of those Killed In Action.Put a flower on their grave,say thank-you! I do it every chance I get. download–Autobiography/dp/0062376330/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421604752&sr=1-2&keywords=american+sniper

Reza Aslan

Reza Aslan

Reza Aslan is  completely disrespectful and IMMENSELY Anti-American. I do find it fascinating that these folks from the middle east get free education,get hired for teaching positions that they are not qualified for;they arrive in the position because they are foreigners(like Aslan),and access everything for free that all other Americans must earn! Yet,they HATE America and despise those who do not wish to embrace Islam! (But,they make their living here!!!) It is interesting to note that his family came here to escape the Iranian Revolution,hmmm. Even more ironic,he claims in his book,Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,that Jesus was a revolutionary…isn’t that amazing??? (Which,by the way,was a bestseller! Why? Because if you write a book about what we actually know about Jesus,it is not interesting;however,if you “make-up” things about Jesus(like Reza Aslan and Dan Brown),the “uneducated and psychotic”public will run with it!)

Local Recognition!

Author Margo Simmons is an Aliquippa native like myself. I wish to share with all of you her debut novel,”Handicapped Dreams!” She is a woman of enormous talent;she is also a songwriter as well as an Iraqi war veteran. Please check out here work on Amazon:

Author,Margo Simmons

Author,Margo Simmons

Dr.Craig Keener: the most voracious North American biblical scholar!

"The Death of Cleopatra" by Edmonia Lewis. (1867)

“The Death of Cleopatra” by Edmonia Lewis. (1867)

Edmonia Lewis was one of the first African-American woman to acquire fame as a sculptor. One can easily determine the reason for this when this piece examined. The Death of Cleopatra is a massive demonstration of refusing to release life;although Cleopatra seems content and serene,there is a haunting theme that is regulated by her posture that suggests her battle with death is just commencing. Her hands appear to be convenient auxiliaries of pulsating life;they are swollen and tempered with magnificent blood flow. Even more radiant are her breasts,which are erect and puffed,as if immensely desiring to be fondled,just to remind the ancient queen that life is worth living for. An epic battle is in place,but the queen will surrender her breath to death;she will sing in silence for eternity. The dramatic moment has been captured beautifully. 

Ms.Lewis was quite famous during her lifetime;she sculpted a bust of Ulysses S. Grant and met Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw(commander of the 54th Massachusetts who was killed in action).  She also made a substantial amount of money from her pieces,some as much as $50,000 dollars! (That’s quite a lot for a woman of her time and stature.) This is a remarkable example of her talent as an artist. What a grand example of unblemished marble that has captured a fascinating woman from the Golden Age of the Ancient World…

(This piece resides at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington,D.C.).


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