As we enjoy the Thanksgiving Day weekend with family and friends, please remember to take time for prayer to thank our heavenly Father for our lives, our freedom and His bountiful blessings. Everything we have comes from our Lord and Savior, yet too often we do not take enough time to humble ourselves and thank Him.
Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength; even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Convention. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to ensure protection and that was through prayer.
Our quality of life is a direct result of our spiritual strength as a community. Prayer needs to guide us and our leaders in our daily lives and our decisions. We must ask the Lord to bless our leaders with wisdom and protection, and that they will have the fortitude to overcome the challenges at hand.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12
Prayer has remained such an important part of our country that in 1952 Congress passed a law declaring the first Thursday of May as National Day of Prayer. Its constitutionality has survived several court challenges and the President signs a proclamation each year encouraging all Americans to pray on that day. Next year it will be observed on May 2, 2013.
For the past 21 years, our community has participated in National Day of Prayer with a breakfast and an evening prayer session organized by a committee of lay persons from a number of our churches. As a committee, we are reaching out to Hamilton County and asking for others to join the committee to ensure the continuance of these important and powerful prayer events.
As you pray, please ask for guidance on how you can support prayer in our community. If serving Him through National Day of Prayer is part of your answer, please contact Tom or Patti Kell at (402) 694-6370 or one of our other committee members: Cal Strong, Shane Thorell or Lisa Werner.
Amendment helps preserve freedom
The Second Amendment is very important. If we lose it, the rest of the amendments will fall like dominos. Our freedom will be gone forever.
The enemies and thieves will be overjoyed and enemies of freedom will love it.
The Native Americans lost their land because they fought each other. A house divided will fall.
Freedom and unity have to be so we can enjoy our American way of life. People kill people, not guns.
You can make a difference
Education Under Fire (EUF) is a campaign developed to address the Iranian government’s denial of the right to education for ideological and religious reasons.
Beyond the goal of encouraging specific action in order to mitigate the effects of these policies in Iran, the campaign will begin conversations on university campuses and within communities around the country in order to raise awareness of and shine a light on the importance of defending Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees education as an inalienable right of every human being.
A new 30-minute documentary by the same title, Education Under Fire, focuses on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s three decade long policy of denying the members of its Baha’i community the right to attend any institution of higher education. In May 2011 the government launched a coordinated attack against the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education, raiding dozens of homes, confiscating computers and materials and detaining a number of that institution’s professors and administrators, some of whom continue to languish in prison without formal charges yet having been levied.
The Iranian government also bans students from pursuing higher education if they have expressed views, joined organizations or engaged in activities that are construed as critical of the government. In addition, the authorities have attempted to prevent instruction in several fields in the humanities and social sciences and have dismissed faculty for ideological reasons.
Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President (of East Timor) Jose Ramons-Horta, have written an open letter about these abuses addressed to the International Academic Community. The letter is on the website www.educationunderfire.com where you can read and endorse it and send it on to others.
You can make a difference. By helping to set in motion, promoting or attending a screening-conversation of the documentary on Nov. 19, 7 p.m., in the Alice Farr Library, you will be joining forces with countless others. By doing so, you will help shed light on the importance of protecting the right to education and access to information for all of the peoples of the world.
Aurora Bahai Community
Secretary of The
Local Spiritual Assembly
Let’s think about Lincoln's message
"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of many by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help man permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."-Abraham Lincoln
Recently I found this quote from Abraham Lincoln. I feel all of us need to think about this message.
Honor veterans by casting ballot
While Nebraskans are hard-working, independent-minded, and liberty-loving citizens, we nevertheless seem rather lackluster at times about exercising a precious and hard-earned right -- the right to vote. We are now approaching a hotly contested presidential race and a U.S. Senate race in Nebraska. How do we intend to respond?
In the last two presidential elections, Nebraska set records for the number of voters. The 2004 election saw 792,906 voters (68.3 percent of registered voters), and the 2008 general election topped that with 811,923 voters (70.2 percent of registered voters).
Will we set a record in the November election? It’s hard to tell. I hope so. Nebraska voting numbers are not as encouraging when a presidential race is not on the ballot.
It’s never just the federal candidates at the top of the ballot who are impacted by low turnout. Low turnout also affects many races on the ballot for state, county and local elections. Those races matter as well and impact us in a very real way.
With the approach of Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, we are reminded of the monumental sacrifices made by millions of Americans who have served in the military. Their sacrifices have resulted in the freedoms which we enjoy today, one of which includes the right to vote.
Each year, my office encourages Nebraska schools to take part in a program called, "Honor a Veteran," which celebrates our nation and the veterans who have defended it. As part of those events, the National Guard furnishes honor guards where possible, and speakers for the schools.
Not only is this a unique opportunity for the students, it’s an emotional one for the veterans as well. At one such event, a WWII veteran came up and shook my hand with tears in his eyes, and said he had never been so warmly thanked for his service until that day. Yes, that is what he said, "had never before been so warmly thanked."
So before they can even vote our young people are learning the lesson that – freedom isn’t free. It comes with sacrifice. But what is the lesson for the rest of us? Maybe it’s the same.
The Constitution begins with the thrilling words, "We, The People of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union…" Yes, we are still "The People." It wasn’t just our forefathers back in 1777.
We should remember what others, generation after generation, have done since then to also ensure our freedom and liberties today; which we enjoy day after day without fear of tomorrow. Should we take those freedoms for granted? Or can we be counted on to be one of "The People" and honor our country’s veterans by casting a ballot in this presidential election?