Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

John Adams

By Dr. Jim Ferguson
It’s funny how you all of a sudden notice something. Some years ago, I noticed a tree with yellow to reddish flowers. I discovered it was an Ailanthus tree which is also known as the tree-of-heaven. (Apparently, it is not heavenly because this Chinese import is considered highly invasive.) And after my discovery, I began to see the tree everywhere.

Just prior to Thanksgiving I started seeing Christmas trees and Christmas decorations everywhere. Perhaps people needed something to cheer them up. Most of us consider the holiday season to begin at Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, Becky and I begin our holiday pilgrimage through our Christmas movies, even though the Christmas tree and decorations don’t go up for another fortnight.

I have watched Charlie Brown Specials on TV, but recently I “discovered” the artful depiction of how the cartoon kids hear adults, especially teachers. I can’t reproduce on paper the hollow sounding and uninterpretable “Wa-wa-wa-wa.” But, if you are similarly flummoxed, watch the YouTube video, “Charlie Brown Teacher Speaking.”

The lovely Becky is my partner in life, and you should be thankful she edits this column. Although we are much alike, we each have different spheres of knowledge. Becky is remodeling our Townsend cabin and attempted to explain her decorating thoughts and the nuances of drapery making to me. Strangely, all I heard was, “Wa-wa-wa-wa.” I’m sure I’ve sounded the same while expounding on ancient Mesopotamian history.

You wonder what to believe these days. I’ve heard reports of children in Los Angeles afraid to walk to school through homeless encampments. I heard that the microbrew industry in Portland has been destroyed and businesses are closing because of crime, drugs, and homelessness. Since the 1960s the American population has increased by about 40%. But the number of people hospitalized with mental illness is only 1/10th the number in the 1960s. Where are these sick people going? They are now homeless, on the street and under bridges, and subject to violence, drugs and endangering others by committing crimes.

Homicides are reportedly up 40% in New York subways and the nightly slaughter continues in Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago. The education of future citizens is being perverted, and not just in K-12 or college. A recent report found that more than 50% of America’s top 100 medical schools (including my own) are reported as “woke” and preaching CRT to medical students. In medical school I was taught science not racial, social and environmental justice. If you wonder what medicine is becoming, scan the titles of articles in the woke NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) and JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).

Last week gaslighting was dubbed the word of the year by Merriam-Webster. Gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of someone to make them question their own reality. Gaslighting has become the modus operandi (method of operation) of social and elite media, leftists and even education. We are all being manipulated and shamed into accepting gender insanity, anti-American progressive CRT, sexualization of children (drag queen shows) and I could go on.

Humans are social creatures. Even introverts don’t aspire to be hermits. Often, people feel uncomfortable when they perceive they are out of sync with the group. But what if the group-think is being falsely and perversely portrayed? As an example, there are two sexes defined scientifically by genetics and physiology. Men cannot have babies. You must learn to recognize and resist the manipulation and shaming (gaslighting) that demands you accept 100 human genders. We should be tolerant (to a point) of differences, but we must not be gaslighted into accepting activist falsehoods. This is insanity.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul contextually asked, “How long must I suffer fools?” I have thought about this many times. I can deal with fools, but leftists are not fools. The chaos and fear they stoke are ideological and purposeful. (Think of the Mayhem TV commercials.) Chaos and fear bring demands for protection and order. And our dysfunctional and powerful government is unfortunately where people often turn. Government is no replacement for morality or God.

In the high Middle Ages Thomas Aquinas and fellow scholastics came up with a hierarchy of laws which I picture as a series of concentric spheres. The largest sphere is God’s Universal Law (read Acts 17:24). A smaller sphere is God’s Law, for example, The Ten Commandments. Then in a smaller sphere is Natural Law, describing physics or my dog’s nature. The smallest sphere is Man’s Law, also known as positive law. Examples are speed limits and even Constitutions. Man’s Law is the lowest order of function.

The reason I digress and describe this hierarchy of laws is to demonstrate that man’s laws are woefully insufficient to provide a framework for individual freedom and civil society. Man’s Law does not prevent me from stealing. I don’t steal because it is against God’s Law and therefore unconscionable. In the law of man, there are no absolutes. I could easily justify stealing a loaf of bread to feed my family. In fact, this is the premise of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables.” Interestingly, the Greek tragedy, “Antigone,” makes the point that conscience overrides human law.

Americans are the freest and most prosperous society in the history of mankind. I live in a beautiful home with a loving wife. I am safe on the refuge of my small farm, surrounded by family and friends. Knoxville and Tennessee are oases of sanity within a troubled country and fallen world. I am blessed. I have not been forced to flee to the safety of a walled town, castle or monastery as people have been forced to do throughout history.

However, our safety, and especially our children’s, is in danger. Our increasingly secular, civil society is breaking down. Make no mistake, evil walks among us and is gaslighting us. To fight for freedom, you must learn to recognize the weapons arrayed against us.

I cannot retreat to my hilltop refuge because it is no longer a sanctuary. I will not accept the false premises of the left. I will not be shamed into silence by the gas lighters. And to paraphrase the Apostle Paul, “I [will] fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Join me.