gold coins that are physical representations of digital cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin and Ethereum symbols on them

Central Bank Digital Currency —15 Free Resources

By Sadie Aldaya

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) have garnered significant attention and debate in economic, social, and political circles in recent years. As governments and financial institutions explore the possibilities and implications of CBDCs, it’s crucial for individuals to stay abreast and engaged with the ongoing discourse surrounding this topic. To aid your understanding, here are 15 free resources covering various aspects of CBDCs, including expert opinions, analyses, and discussions.

Central Bank Digital Currency Resources

Podcast Episodes and Videos

  1. CBDC & Fed Now App Launch Coming In Days. Is it “The Mark?”—Justin Barclay interviews Dr. Kirk Elliot on this insightful podcast episode.
  2. Greg Reese Report: FedNow Launch—This informative video will give valuable insights into the Federal Reserve’s CBDC initiative launch.
  3. Refining Rhetoric with Robert Bortins ends each episode with a Classical Crypto segment.
  4. Leigh Bortins & Kevin Novak’s Unfragmented Book Club series on Thank God for BitCoin by Jimmy Song. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Articles and Reports

  1. Central Bank Digital Currency: What Is A CBDC?Forbes offers an in-depth exploration of CBDCs, highlighting their significance and implications.
  2. Why a Digital Dollar Is a Really Bad Idea—The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) presents compelling arguments against the concept of a digital dollar.
  3. Homeschool Freedom Action Center: The Perils of Centralized Digital Banking Currency—An insightful analysis of the risks associated with centralized digital currencies.
  4. CBDC vs. Crypto: What’s the Difference?—The CATO Institute shares the nuances of CBDCs versus cryptocurrencies in this thought-provoking article.
  5. Federal Reserve—Learn about the FedNow Service and its role in the future of digital payments.
  6. White House Statement—Discover the current White House perspective on responsible digital asset innovation.
  7. CBDCs: The Road To Total Digital EnslavementWide Awake Media explores the implications of CBDCs on digital freedom in this thought-provoking article.
  8. Bank of Korea Governor Sees CBDC Introduction as Case for ‘Urgency:’ Report—Gain insights from the Bank of Korea Governor on the urgency of CBDC introduction.
  9. Donald Trump Vows to ‘Never Allow’ Central Bank Digital Currencies if Elected—This informative article explores Donald Trump’s views on CBDCs.

Finally, navigating the realm of CBDCs requires a thorough understanding of the complex issues at play. By engaging with these resources, you’ll be better equipped to grasp the implications of CBDCs on economies, financial systems, and individual freedoms. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and join the ongoing conversation surrounding the future of digital currencies.

Sadie Aldaya is the Research & Quality Assurance Specialist for Classical Conversations. Sadie and her husband homeschooled for over 20 years. She served as a Classical Conversations field representative for 15 years, providing community and support for other homeschooling families. Sadie’s passions are to stop government encroachment in areas where they have no authority or jurisdiction and to see Christians return to a biblical Christ-centered worldview.

A man with a beard and glasses taking his hat off and scratching his head, looking upward out of frame

Can You Define Fascism?

By Elise DeYoung

Fascism. It is a term widely used but hardly understood.

Are you aware of the history and philosophy surrounding this term? Can you define it?

When these questions arise, men like Benito Mussolini are often accredited with the philosophy of fascism, and words such as “authoritarianism” and “right-wing extremism” are frequently given as synonyms. Armed with these ambiguous and frightening words as arrows in their quiver, left-wing politicians commonly use the word fascism to attack their right-wing opponents. We are all familiar with CNN anchors referring to Donald Trump as a right-wing, MAGA fascist.

Where did this term originate? Is fascism really right-wing extremism? Are there fascists in America today?

By exploring each of these questions, we will come across three misconceptions of fascism that have distorted our understanding of this powerful word.

These misconceptions are:

  1. Benito Mussolini founded fascism.
  2. Fascism is a radical right-wing ideology.
  3. The modern Left is anti-fascist.

Misconception One: Mussolini and Fascism

Contrary to popular belief, Benito Mussolini was not the founder of fascism. Instead, he explicitly recognized the real founder of fascism as Giovanni Gentile, and gave him the title, “The philosopher of Fascism.”

Gentile lived from 1875 to 1944 and was an extremely prominent Italian philosopher, politician, and educator. He established the idea of fascism, and with his ideology, he paved the way for the dictatorship of Mussolini, which lasted from 1922 to 1943.

Gentile, like Marx, sought to create a form of government that resembles the family unit. What would this look like exactly? Well—if you think of the family unit, who is the head of the household? Traditionally, it is the father. And what is the role of the father? It is to provide for and to protect his family.

Likewise, Gentile ordered his fascist ideology in such a way that the government would be the father of civilization—its sole provider and protector. With this structure, personal responsibility and individual liberty, which Gentile condemned as “selfish,” are thrown out the window and replaced by slothful dependence and security through submission to Father Government. It is obvious why authoritarianism is so closely attributed to fascism; they have many similarities. Now that we understand Gentile’s philosophical intention, we can define his term.

Fascism is a political movement that seeks to establish an authoritarian system of government that resembles the family unit.

There is one final fact about Gentile that must be understood to have a well-rounded understanding of his philosophy of fascism. That is—Gentile was a Leftist. This may come as a shock because fascism has been attributed to the right for many decades, but when we consider the philosophy of fascism in relation to the modern right and left, it begins to make sense.

Misconception Two: Fascism and the Right

As I said before, fascism has been viewed as the end game of radical right-wing politics for many decades. Republican politicians have seemed to accept this abuse of language and have allowed it to continue all these years.

However, a brief comparison of conservatism and fascism will expose the ridiculous claim that fascism is rooted in the right. Allow me to ask this simple question: Do conservatives want big government? The answer is an obvious and resounding no.

If there is one thing that has not changed in the Republican party, it is the desire for small government. To claim otherwise is folly.  

Additionally, what true conservative wants to surrender personal responsibility and individual liberty to Father Government? The answer is none.

For fascism to work at all, liberty and responsibility must be discarded and replaced by a far-reaching, powerful, all-consuming government that rules its complacent society with an iron fist. That is what happened in Italy under Mussolini’s fascist reign, and that is precisely what conservatives are actively fighting against.

Misconception Three: The Left and Modern-Day Fascists

So, if Republicans are not undercover fascist dictators, are there fascists in America at all?

I am not here to make the argument that all leftist politicians and Democrat voters are fascists. Because that is not the case, however, there are clear-cut agreements between the two political movements that we must acknowledge.

PragerU makes this comparison in their video, “Is Fascism Right or Left?”,

“At the 1984 convention of the Democratic Party, the governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, likened America to an extended family where, through the government, people all take care of each other.”

They continue by saying,

“Nothing has changed. Thirty years later, a slogan of the 2012 Democratic Party convention was, ‘The government is the only thing we all belong to.’ They might as well have been quoting Gentile.”

The left has taken Gentile’s idea of collectivism under Father Government and applied it to their political philosophy. We must be aware of the left’s implementation of this core fascist ideal in its policies and plans for our country.

Fascist Philosophy Embedded in Leftist Policies

Just to name a few, the Welfare system has resulted in a complete dependence upon the government by large swaths of the American public. In addition, the left’s movement to ban assault rifles would instantly create a total dependence on Father Government for protection. These two examples prove that the left is furthering our dependence on the government for provision and protection; Gentile would be proud.

The most glaring example, however, of fascist philosophy embedded in leftist policies was the effort by Democratic politicians to instate federal mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have exponentially multiplied the scope and influence of the state and greatly increased our submission to it in the name of security. Gentile’s philosophy continues infiltrating institutions today, such as education and healthcare, through Democratic policies.

It is abundantly clear that there are extreme misconceptions surrounding the term and ideology of fascism. Thankfully, we can know the facts behind the philosophy. With a newfound clarity of the origin and political affiliation of fascism, we must now boldly oppose all efforts to instate Father Government in our fascist-free country.

You can read other articles written by Elise here.

Elise DeYoung is a PR & Communications Associate as well as a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

a person holding up a cardboard sign that says "Act Now"

Stand Against Oklahoma Bill HB 4130 Requiring Permission to Homeschool

By Elise DeYoung

Recently, House Bill 4130 was introduced to regulate homeschool families in Oklahoma. Americans must strongly oppose this bill to restrict and regulate families, because its narrative of abuse in homeschools is fabricated. This bill would introduce extreme government overreach into the realm of home education.

Homeschoolers have the fundamental right of autonomy to educate and disciple their children apart from state overreach. A more detailed analysis of this bill is coming, but due to urgency of action, here are some reasons to oppose it:

  1. Children do not belong to the state, but to the parents.
  2. Therefore, the Civil government has no authority or jurisdiction over homeschooling.
  3. The reasons for restricting and regulating homeschooling are baselessly supported, fueled by fear tactics.
  4. If passed, the state will require social security numbers and background checks for the purpose of tracking every home resident.
  5. If passed, parents may be subjected to home inspection visits.

For these reasons, we’d like to stand with our friends at HSLDA and oppose Rep. Amanda Swope’s bill. 

To join our efforts opposing HB 4130, please contact Rep. Amanda Swope to let her know that you oppose this bill.

Join the Fight to Keep Your Homeschool Freedoms:

  1. Tips For Contacting Your Lawmakers
  2. Letter and Phone Content Template
  3. Join the Oklahoma Capitol Day 2024
  4. Find out more about Constitutional Home Educators Alliance

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

the World Economic Forum logo

Incriminating Information: The World Economic Forum

By Elise DeYoung

Currently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is in session in Davos, Switzerland. WEF is an organization founded by Klaus Schwab in 1971 that “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.” 1

In other words, WEF annually hosts the world’s elite businessmen, academics, and prominent politicians to decide how to run your life. They discuss what they deem the global crisis of our day and propose solutions to one another until they decide what direction they would like the course of history to take.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the World Economic Forum, Ben Shapiro outlines it in his series, Facts.

Misinformation: The Global Threat

This year, WEF has determined that the number one threat to global security is “misinformation and disinformation.” 2

That’s right; the greatest threat to the world is not the rise of an aggressive China and a looming World War, economic instability, or even climate change—which is their favorite global crisis. The greatest threat to the world is you: your thoughts and your words, and when your thoughts and words disagree with them.

This is dangerous on many levels, the first being that the terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” are extremely vague and illusive. Without a clear definition, the Leftist elites at Davos have the power to classify any information they dislike as a threat to the global order.

However, despite their lack of definitions, the elites have made it clear exactly what information they are waging their war against.

Covid Misinformation

Perhaps the most outrageous example of information that was deemed more dangerous than nuclear war was information that claimed that the Covid-19 measures taken by our world leaders were harmful, not helpful. During the pandemic, voices that contradicted the propaganda of the elites were publicly scorned and instantly banned from the public square.

In 2020, The Verge published an article that detailed this phenomenon on Facebook. “Facebook has had to take more active measures to combat the fast-moving spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories in the months since, including banning anti-mask groups and placing anti-misinformation messages into the News Feeds of users who may have engaged with fake coronavirus stories.” 3 Recall that many theories once labeled ‘conspiracies,’ and as such were shadow-banned, shamed, and demonetized, are now officially documented as ‘fact;’ the most obvious example being the “Lab-Leak Theory.”

Does anyone remember the infamous “Twitter Files” story? Let’s not forget that the warnings about the elusive, so-called ‘misinformation’ police are increasingly becoming an actual bi-partisan issue! Matt Taibbi, who originally broke the “Twitter Files” story and was grilled before Congress for doing so, is not conservative.

Climate Misinformation

Another recent example is “climate misinformation.” What is so-called climate misinformation? It is any information that promotes the idea that wind and solar will fail to power the world and that the world is not doomed to end within the next ten years. 

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH)4 reported that “climate misinformation” has become increasingly common on YouTube, and as a result, they sounded the alarms of misinformation and disinformation.

When asked about this report, a YouTube spokesperson told CNN that “debate or discussions of climate change topics, including around public policy or research, is allowed.” However, “when content crosses the line to climate change denial, we stop showing ads on those videos. We also display information panels under relevant videos to provide additional information on climate change and context from third parties.” 5

January 6th Misinformation

Additionally, if you claim that January 6th was anything other than the most dangerous insurrection in our nation’s history, you are spreading misinformation and are, therefore, as the elites claim, a threat to the world.

To be clear, not everything that occurred on January 6 is defensible. For one, it is a crime to just walk into the Capitol, or any government building, without permission, and this isn’t an offense to be taken lightly. Moreover, some people on January 6 did respond with violence or aggression, warranting a criminal response. All that to say, not all is excused or pardonable, and my words shouldn’t be misconstrued to be a blanket statement of approval. However, there is still concern over the issue of policeable misinformation.

The Washington Post reported that 3 in 10 Republicans believe that January 6 was instigated by the FBI rather than by President Trump. What is the conclusion that the Post drew from this statistic? “These results confirm that misinformation about January 6 is widespread in the United States.” 6

Biden Misinformation

Hunter Biden’s laptop, which exposed Hunter for his drug, sex, and firearm crimes and compromised the entire Biden family by detailing their corrupt business dealings, was aggressively classified as misinformation by the elites since before the 2020 elections. But just yesterday, the Department of Justice confirmed that the content of the Hunter Biden laptop is, in fact, real information.7 Yet, the list goes on. 

Part of the issue is that there is no clear definition of misinformation and disinformation. Moreover, in my opinion, modern, popular (New Left), militant, fascist Liberalism has no possession of meaning for what is labeled ‘conspiracy.’ Although we have a technical definition, there is no epistemic or qualifying justification for what constitutes ‘conspiracy.’

While there is no clear definition of misinformation and disinformation, it is abundantly clear which views the elites at Davos have decided are global threats. When they find an opinion, fact, or belief that contradicts their narrative, they mock, scorn, and will continue to ban both the information and the one who shared it to protect their utopian goals for the globe.

This isn’t a warning for the future. It is and has already been happening.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey toward the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

  1. “Our Mission.” World Economic Forum. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.weforum.org/about/world-economic-forum/ ↩︎
  2. Global Risks Report 2024: The risks are growing—But so is our capacity to respond.” World Economic Forum. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/01/global-risk-report-2024-risks-are-growing-but-theres-hope/ ↩︎
  3. Statt, N., “Facebook will now show a warning before you share articles about COVID-19.” The Verge, August 12, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/12/21365305/facebook-covid-19-warning-notification-post-misinformation ↩︎
  4. Center for Countering Digital Hate. Retrieved January 19, 2024, from https://counterhate.com/ ↩︎
  5. Ramirez, R., “What is ‘new denial?’ An alarming wave of climate misinformation is spreading on YouTube, watchdog says.” CNN. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/16/climate/climate-denial-misinformation-youtube/index.html ↩︎
  6. Jackman, T., Clement, S., Guskin, E., & Hsu, S. S. “A quarter of Americans believe FBI instigated Jan. 6, Post-UMD poll finds.” The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2024/01/04/fbi-conspiracy-jan-6-attack-misinformation/ ↩︎
  7. Kruta, V., “DOJ Confirms: Hunter Biden Laptop Was Real This Whole Time.” The Daily Wire. Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.dailywire.com/news/doj-confirms-hunter-biden-laptop-was-real-this-whole-time ↩︎
a dark silhouette of the back of a person watching a blazing fire

Swamp Fire: A Reflection

By Paul Bright

You Know It’s Hot When the Swamp is On Fire

Driving to a vacation spot this summer for our annual sabbatical at the beach, my wife and I were on Interstate 12 near Stennis at the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. Like much of southern Louisiana and Mississippi, this area is filled with wetlands, bayous, creeks, cricks, rivers, and overgrowth that rivals any dystopian, apocalyptic movie. And it was on fire. A burn ban had been in place for quite some time, but the extended heat of the summer and the lack of rain had turned the vegetation into a tinderbox. The flames had jumped from the westbound lanes, through the median, and onto the eastbound lanes. Thick smoke filled the whole area, making visibility impossible and covering everything with soot and charred smell. In my characteristic deadpan humor, I turned to my wife and said, “You know it’s hot when the swamp is on fire.”

A Quick Laugh and Further Reflection

Only my wife can chuckle at such dry humor. However, the conditions for a fire in a swamp were clear and longstanding due to the combination of neglect, rebellion, and environment. The surprise of driving through a swamp fire was humorous and ironic, in that it illustrates the swamp fire of Western Culture. But what are some of the conditions that lead to the blazing chaos that is burning through our culture, and why are there so few Christians who seem unaware or willing to do anything?

The Putrid Soil of Idealism

Idealism, philosophically defined, is the theory of epistemology that teaches that the mind forms reality. Historically, idealism arose from pursuing rationalism during the Enlightenment in thinkers such as Hegel, Leibnitz, and, to a lesser extent, Kant. In the proponents that followed the Enlightenment, pure subjective idealism became not merely Optimism but also a teaching that the mind does not create the idea but the thing itself. Thus, pure subjective idealism results in the creation of the thing directly. Through the power of the mind, man creates the very thing imagined by thought. The subject creates through noumena (from the Greek word, nous, “mind”). “The duality of the matter and mind,” as Bavinck surmised, has been “denied, and the thing and the representation of the thing, being and thinking, are viewed essentially as one.” 1

The Voracious Weeds in the Swamp

Pure subjective idealism infected Christianity directly through the charlatans of the Word-Faith movement and continues in a more mass-appealing form in the hucksters peddling the prosperity gospel, where the conjoined sins of self-worship and greed increasingly breed ever-blasphemous pronouncements in the name of Christ. The recent history of Western Christianity is dominated by these popular teraphim (from the ancient Hebrew, “false idols”) that are adored and emulated. There is a headlong rush toward any living savior who can speak of money, fame, and celebrity as a blessing. Their numbers are only limited to how quickly followers can heap on teachers. Their influence is only limited by their opportunity to jump from a smaller idolatrous family to a whole tribe (Judges 17-18). They are weeds, all. Truly, truly, they are cursed directly by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:24-26).

The Impenetrable Undergrowth

Growing unchecked out of this idealism is the regurgitated anthropological teaching that the affections are granted a substance and an epistemological and moral priority. Feelings are given a “soul” with an unyielding, undiminishable, and immutable authority. Feelings are an abiding revelation, a self-originating, self-authenticating, self-interpreting impetus, as base and necessary to existence as breathing air. Thus, feelings are presented as a prius (from Latin, “a prior thing”), not a posterius (from Latin, “a following thing”). Feelings internal and subjective are the ousia (from Greek, “substance”) and hyparchis (from Greek, “abiding presence”) and are, similarly, necessarily detached from phenomena (Greek from phenoo, “I observe”). The new category is aesthemena (Greek from aesthima, “feeling”).  

Swamp Undergrowth is Not a Garden

This affectional ratio ad vitam (Latin for ‘meaning for life’) corrupted historic Christian theology by a deceptively disastrous mutation in the skewed recharacterization of God’s love as eros (from Greek, “sensual love”), not agape (from Greek, “love by choice”). Popularized by multiple, respected, well-studied, philosophical, historical, and exegetical preachers and teachers, the apex of Christian virtue became “Glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” Feelings as motive, as drive, as the substance was drunk in, as living water. Passion and pleasure were put forward in man and God as the only true achievement, embodiment, and reciprocation of glory. Anything of will and duty is of works and baseless and useless. Rather than growing a well-tended garden, the result was an entangling, unstable, impenetrable overgrowth of affectional mass. Undergrowth is not beautiful, and it was part of the curse (Genesis 3:18). Man was never designed by God to be led by affections.

The Match Was Thrown

Is it any wonder that the current cultural climate is one where the mind exhibits and engages in pure subjective irrationality from the prius of the feelings? This is why debates based on phenomena and logic are rejected immediately, comprehensively, and violently based on feelings. The person who believes that the mind is an organ of feelings that stimulate the creation of reality is irrationally enslaved. These persons will go to great lengths to subjugate their thoughts and the observable world around them to conform to their feelings. These persons must create from the inside out, from the affections as the source, through the mind as means, to the outside, as the transformative object. These have made themselves as Deity in their feelings, to which any, and eventually all, must prostrate in obedience.

The Fire Consumes and Is Healthy?

However, in order to create, these persons must first destroy. They will destroy all norms, whether individual or societal, amoral or moral, religious or civil. Worse still, this destruction and recreation is repackaged as a necessary mental health crisis for these individuals when the world outside of them does not immediately conform to their idealism. This explains why their verbal and material reactions include radical outbursts of violence and, contradictorily, simultaneously and exclusively, claim themselves to be recipients of violence. You have, in their reality, assaulted their most complete and necessary substance and being.  

Where there is Fire, there is Smoke

The pursuit of this idolatry will destroy them internally as well as raze relationships, morals, institutions, and societies. The consequences of idealism are already observed and experienced in the institutions of society through education, government, employment, military, health services, the family, and religion. The planned destruction through idealism is combined with the blatant realignment of the historic political foundation of our country. Marxism, at its roots, views man as tolpa (Russian for “herd”). The target of Marxism has always been and will be the most innocent and vulnerable…children. Familial, ecclesiastical, educational, technological, governmental, and societal fumes will billow from the smoldering miasma of this Idealism and Marxism.  

Putting out the Fire Through the Promise of Repentance

The only recourse for change is direct confrontation. Exposure of the insane irrationality comes through the proclamation of the objective revelation written in the Scriptures. There is hope that the convicting work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11) will shatter the illusion of self-deification. The promises of God to work for regeneration seen in true repentance have never been revoked.

Growing Anew

Corporately, Christians should pursue the position of illuminator and preserver (light and salt) through soberness, prayerfulness, engagement, and, as is customary in the course of Christian history, a willingness to suffer. It behooves Christians to live circumspectly, pure, clean, and with holy wisdom that comes down from the Father of Lights. Also, Christians should actively prune the undergrowth of this idealism and live worshipfully with the rich communities established on the Reformed doctrines of grace, which oppose idealism. Finally, Christian parents need to understand that the current culture fire is specifically designed to disintegrate their God-given position and responsibility as moral teachers and examples in the minds, hearts, and souls of their children in all respects. So, parents must make a choice and act. What will you choose to do?

Paul Bright currently works in the field of Biotechnology. He is a native of Evansville, IN, and an alumnus of Purdue University and The Master’s Seminary. He was a Systematic Theology and Ancient Hebrew professor in Samara, Russia. He and his wife, Jennifer, homeschooled their daughter all the way through high school and currently reside in Covington, Louisiana.

  1. Herman Bavink, Reformed Dogmatics. Vol. 1. (MI: Baker Academic, 2003), p. 216. ↩︎
a train station sign that says "Harvard"

Harvard’s Dilemma

By Robert Bortins

In a society where bad ideas have infiltrated even our most prestigious universities, it is essential that we stand up for truth in thought and excellence in education. 

Former Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned due to significant public pressure after she failed to condemn antisemitic speech on campus and was discovered to have committed many acts of plagiarism throughout her professional career. Sadly, the corruption at Harvard will outlive Gay’s presidency as the school continues to promote critical theory and DIE initiatives. 

In Episode 78 of ‘Refining Rhetoric,’ I explore the implications of woke hiring and firing, low academic standards, and a godless worldview at our universities and throughout our broader culture. Also, I highlight the important role Christians have in speaking out against these dangerous ideas while holding fast to Biblical truth and excellence. 

This podcast originally aired on Jan. 10, 2024. Check out other freedom-loving episodes of Refining Rhetoric.

Robert Bortins is the CEO of Classical Conversations® and the host of Refining RhetoricThe company has grown from supporting homeschoolers in about 40 states to supporting homeschoolers in over 50 countries and has become the world’s largest classical homeschooling organization under his guidance.

a closeup of two business people shaking hands

Colorado: Meet Your Legislator Day on February 15

By Carolyn Martin, CHEC Director of Government Relations

The following was originally published as “Legislative Update for December 20, 2023” at CHEC.org. It has been republished here with the author’s permission.

Laws, Rules, and Guidance

It is vital that homeschoolers meet their legislators and participate in Homeschool Day at the Capitol and Legislator Day events to protect homeschooling freedom. The legislature solely holds the authority to make laws, while the Executive Branch departments or agencies set the rules for implementing and enforcing those laws. They then use their rules to create guidance on how to follow the rules and comply with the law.

Over the past several years, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has been working on revising the rules around public school financing. The broad rule-making authority has been given to the State Board of Education (BOE) to promulgate rules around part-time programs (CRS 22-54-103(10)(e.5)). The BOE, an elected body, will be reviewing and voting on these rules in February. These changes will impact some part-time public-school programs utilized by homeschoolers.

Changes to Part-Time Programs?

Teacher Qualifications: Technically, they have not changed their guidelines around teacher qualifications for schools receiving funding. At the BOE meeting on December 13th, the CDE representative said they merely moved some of the language from their guidance document into the rules for clarity. School districts, charter schools, and BOCES can still receive waivers to allow teachers who do not have a teacher’s license to teach classes. Additionally, they made it clear in the rules that classes where the parents are the teachers will not be funded.

Eliminate K–5th Grade Online Part-Time Programs: They will no longer fund part-time pupils for asynchronous supplemental online learning for K–5th grade students. This is a change from current policy but is within their authority to decide. Those students must enroll in an online district school to receive those types of services.

Contracts With Instructional Providers: According to CDE, local school districts, charters, and BOCES have the authority to contract with third parties to provide educational services. From what they said, the proposed rules do not change the local control aspects of this provision, but they do add more accountability to these programs by adding additional documentation and hoops for them to go through to be funded.

Impacts on Independent Homeschoolers?

As long as a homeschool family does not enroll in a public-school program, these rules do not apply. While the attitude of education bureaucrats remains opposed to our right to homeschool, these rules do not threaten the homeschool law. But, as Treon Goossen, one of the co-authors of Colorado’s homeschool law, wrote concerning the danger of the emergence of part-time public-school programs, “The public school system wants the public/parents to believe that ‘it is all homeschooling’ so when they make their move to eliminate the control of parents over their independent homeschools and thrust them back under state control — it will appear to be the most natural thing to do.” (Read the full article and connect the dots.) She contended that these programs are a threat to our liberties.

As you know, CHEC works closely with HSLDA on all matters related to homeschooling. HSLDA’s position is that the current proposed rule changes only affect taxpayer-funded public programs and do not threaten the homeschool law. Additionally, HSLDA does not support tax-payer-funded public programs as the programs themselves have the potential to undermine private home education. CHEC and HSLDA will continue to work to ensure homeschooling families remain as free as possible from government control.

Remember: what the government funds, the government controls. CHEC envisions families honoring Jesus Christ by embracing Christ-centered home discipleship and free from government control. We will continue to monitor these rules as they move through the process and keep you informed.

Attend CHEC’s Meet Your Legislator Day – February 15th!

Find out what CHEC is doing this year and register. You won’t want to miss this opportunity for you and your family to help protect the homeschool law in Colorado!

Read the original CHEC article.

Carolyn Martin serves as CHEC’s Director of Government Relations, working for you and other liberty-loving families to protect homeschool freedom, parental rights, and religious liberty at the state capitol. Subscribe to the CHEC blog for Carolyn’s regular updates, learn more about legal issues in Colorado, and support Homeschool Freedom. Contact Carolyn directly at carolyn@chec.org.

beautifully jeweled crowns sitting on red cushions

The Perfect Monarchy

By Lauren Gideon

As I write this blog on New Year’s Day, I can’t help but take note of the colliding spheres of meaning in our holidays and in our politics. At this moment, firmly nested in between Advent and Epiphany, the entire focus of this season revolves around celebrating the arrival of the Holy Monarchy. Even people, whose consciences are opposed to recognizing December 25 for historical reasons, still revere the significance of the incarnation of the Eternal King.

Where Did Monarchy Come From?

The word “king” first appears in Genesis 14. In this chapter, nine kings are listed in the conflict that transpires. Four kings and their kingdoms wage war on the other five. When Lot and his household are captured, Abram is forced to intervene. At the end of the chapter, we learn about the King of Salem, Melchizedek, who was also a priest of the Most High God. This conflict happened around 1866 BC.

Other historical documents teach us about Namer, the first King in Egypt, who ruled around 3150 BC, and Enmebaragesi, King of Kish, in northern Babylonia, c. 2700 BC.

We have no record of God establishing a monarchy until 1 Samuel 8 (c. 1052 BC).

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-9 ESV)

According to this passage, the people initiated the conversation and requested a king, and their request was an act of rejection. When God calls himself the people’s king, one question was whether he was defining monarchy or leveraging a term already a part of the ancient vocabulary.

God’s granting of their request was an act of revelation and consequence. In Samuel 12:17, Samuel gives the people a sign.

17 “Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.”

And the people responded with confession,

19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.”

God Still Gave a King

But this did not stop God from giving the people what they requested. This would begin the parade of Hebrew kings.

What is important to conclude is that just because God established a human monarchy does not change the fact that the request was an act of rejection and a wicked act. There is a sentiment among some Christians that because a human king ruled God’s chosen people and God directed the process of establishing the monarchy, this must mean that the Hebrew monarchy was good. However, the text is very clear about how God frames the event. It is essential to distinguish what God allows from what He calls good.

This confusion has continued throughout time. Much of classical liberalism literature was drafted in the 17th century in opposition to the Divine Rights theory. King James I of England (1603–25), who commissioned and was the namesake of the 1611 English translation of the Bible, was the foremost exponent of the divine right of kings.1

Sir Robert Filmer wrote an essential piece of literature on the divine rights theory in the early 17th century (published in 1680). A key aspect of his argument was that he claimed, “God Governed Always by Monarchy.”

John Locke and his contemporaries spent their lives untangling this mess, drawing on their observations of history and human nature. Do you know what they discovered? To summarize, they unpacked what scripture had always been saying:

10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good,
not even one.”
(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

Paul’s words in Romans directly echo both Psalm 14 and Psalm 53.

None on Earth is Worthy

What scripture teaches us is that none on Earth is worthy. We have no non-wicked option to set up as a king! Additionally, all humanity is equal in merit. Each individual is an image bearer of Christ and possesses a totally depraved nature. Thus, these two questions must always be asked, “Who among us is worthy to rule someone else?” and “Who among us deserves to be ruled by another fallen human?”

In Thomas Jefferson’s first Inaugural Address, he deals with this issue: “Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

These age-old questions were addressed at the inception of our nation after centuries of debate and historical case studies. In our nation’s oldest official document, the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson penned these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”— a direct affront to the divine rights theory!

Disclaimer: Although articulated and directed towards the monarchy, the elephant in the room is that while the young nation could see the injustice of the monarchy, some did not see the obvious egregious direct parallel with the slave trade. (And let’s not join in the hypocrisy by thinking our generation is the first that neither is ruled nor subjugated. There are many mechanisms of control in place based on the false premise that one “knows better” or that we ought to protect people from themselves.)

If we are to live in civility with equals, how is that possible? How can we honor the reality that no human is worthy to rule another human?

The answer to that question and a philosophical cornerstone for our constitutional republic is that “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Our system was one in which we fundamentally confessed humanity’s wickedness and inadequacies and acknowledged the injustice that occurs when one human is subjected to another. With violence, we threw off the shackles and injustice of the British Monarchy, and the United States of America was born.

And here we sit, 247 years later, contemplating and celebrating the advent of the Holy Monarchy, the king born in a stable over 2000 years ago. Is there any chance 21st-century Americans might need to attend to their conflicting thoughts on monarchy?

How Can Christ be King, and Monarchy be Imperfect?

Human monarchies are only imperfect because humans fall short. When God was preparing Adam for Eve, God first paraded all the “not-Eves” in front of Adam.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18-20 ESV)

Throughout history, a similar event has been unfolding from the ancient Kings, through the Hebrew kings, to the modern kings; a parade of unworthy counterfeits march across the pages of time. Their shortcomings cultivate an awareness and a yearning for what is missing. We realize that we must suffer through chaos, which is humans’ best attempt at justice, while we eagerly await the good, worthy and just King who is to come. The stage has been set for us now, the same as God did for Adam.

How do we rectify this as thankful Americans? The beauty within the American system is wrapped up in the humility and confession that no one here on earth is worthy and that each individual has dignity and deserves justice as an image bearer of Christ. As long as we embrace, manifest, and teach these principles, we are a living confession to the truth of our human condition and our need for the True King, and we live out the mandate in Micah 6:8 (ESV).

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

How Can I Embrace the Monarchy That Is?

The advent of the coming of Christ the King is problematic for our human limitations. We know that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit…

Born of the virgin Mary (First Advent)

  On the third day, he rose again from the dead.

  He ascended to heaven (Ascension)

  and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

  From there, he will come to judge the living and the dead (Second Advent)

In all this coming and going and coming again, do we forget that the “Kingdom of Christ is at hand”? That our King stands outside of space and time? That his rule is eternal and that we are eternal souls? Consider this reminder from Colossians 3:15 (ESV).

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.”

For in all these things, there is much to celebrate, and we can sing along with this old song with a new appreciation.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

-Charles Wesley

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/divine-right-of-kings ↩︎
a window view of a Christmas store, with Christmas trees, wreaths, and presents on display

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas

By Lauren Gideon

There is something special about childhood. Overlay the beauty and simplicity of childhood with the sacred spectacular atmosphere of the holidays, and that intersection seems nothing short of magical. This wedge, where those two events overlap, is so powerful that grown adults constantly search for ways to replicate that experience and those sentiments. Our song lyrics and storylines are strong indicators of this reality. What changes as we age? Why can’t we always (only) experience that perceived magical atmosphere? Why does everything feel so complicated? 

A few years ago, I was in line at the grocery store, listening to the conversation between the cashier and a customer unfolding in front of me. As the customer prepares to depart, the cashier extends the farewell of “Happy Holidays.” In disgust, the customer replies with a harsh and sharp, “Merry Christmas!” 

Wait. What just happened?

My thoughts started taking inventory. “Did that customer just use a Christmas salutation as retaliation?” In true sports commentary fashion, let’s look at the replay. In this scenario, the cashier was perceived to have been using the “happy holidays” greeting as a way to deny the real “reason for the season.” But was she? Is there anything wrong with “happy holidays”? Was the cashier maliciously trying to cancel Christ? Was the offended customer claiming to be a Christian? The irony of the retort was amusing, to say the least. There was nothing merry about her tone or her intent. And I’m not very confident that Person, whose birth she thought she was defending, would have been pleased by her style. 

However, can we sympathize with both parties? The grown-up world is complicated. We struggle even to greet a stranger this time of year. You see, in addition to the holidays, we have learned there are conflicting worldviews. We have learned that the holders of these worldviews are frequently hostile to holders of other worldviews. As Christians, we know that in this world we will have trouble, but that Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33) 

How many times have we met Christians who not only go looking for trouble but also for a chance to be this type of “overcomer.” This customer was clearly frustrated; hopefully, her misstep is a cautionary tale to other Christians. Still, we can understand that navigating a bold allegiance to Christ in a world full of people we are called to love is…complicated.  

A Free Society Will Bring Confusion, and That’s a Good Thing

This year, I was told another story about a workplace DEI book club. The week’s topic was how not to talk about Christmas in the workplace. Contrast this with those who insist that we must speak about Christmas all the more because it’s our “first-amendment right.”  

Highlighted here is the deep complexity of the free market, the civil sphere, limited congress, public-policy-governing employers, confusion over the origin of rights, the Constitution, natural law, and the Creator.  

We confuse spheres of governance vs. mechanisms of enforcement and fail to consider the consequences of misunderstanding and misusing these. Additional elements include mechanisms of the free market, obligations of citizens, obligations of consumers, and labor providers in a free market. Each one of these components is an inescapably complicated layer that adds to the weight of responsibility. This makes our simple childhood memories much more precious and explains why grown adults prefer discovering a path back to childhood than navigating a way forward. 

While it seems that Christians’ primary conflict is with those outside the faith, this is evidently false. Is there an answer to all this madness? 

How to Navigate With Romans 14

Romans 14:5-9 gives us a 3-part navigation process.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Part One: Be convinced. 

Convinced has nothing to do with opinion. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines convinced as persuaded in mind; satisfied with evidence; convicted. Being blessed with freedom, both civilly and economically, comes with responsibility. Embrace it, steward it, protect it, and afford it to others. Gather and wrestle through the evidence, and put the evidence on trial until you reach a satisfactory verdict. And then, when new evidence presents itself, rinse and repeat.

Part Two: Be gracious with others. 

They bear the same responsibility, and they also will give an account. We know the stakes are high, and the task is heavy; therefore, we should not complicate what is already sufficiently complicated. If anything, we should model the diligence, sobriety, and reverence we have for this responsibility and the ability to stay out of our neighbor’s figurative courtroom. 

 Part Three: Chill out, be thankful, and live and die for an audience of One. 

The whole passage can be summed up with a single parallel text, Micah 6:8. 

He has told you, O man, what is good;

     and what does the Lord require of you

 but to do justice, and to love kindness,

     and to walk humbly with your God?

So, to my friends near and far who may read this: happy holiday, and Merry Christmas.  

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

the shadows of figurines of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the manger

Anticipation and Arrival: A Heartfelt Advent Reflection

By Sadie Aldaya

Hey there, fellow journeyers on the road of faith! As the air becomes crisper and the days grow shorter, our hearts collectively turn toward the season of Advent—a cherished time of preparation, anticipation, and joy. So, grab a cozy blanket, settle into your favorite chair, and let’s dive into the beauty of Advent and how we can prepare our hearts for the arrival of Christ.

Embracing the Anticipation

Advent is like the quiet hush before the grand symphony. It’s those moments of waiting in breathless anticipation, knowing that something extraordinary is about to unfold. As Christians, we’re not just marking off days on a calendar; we’re actively engaging in a sacred rhythm of expectation.

The Candle of Hope: A Beacon in the Darkness

The first candle of Advent flickers with the light of hope. It’s a reminder that, even in the darkest nights of our lives, the promise of Christ’s coming illuminates our path. This season invites us to pause, reflect, and anchor our hope in the enduring promise of a Savior who brings light to our world.

Preparing the Manger of Our Hearts

Just as Mary and Joseph prepared a humble manger for the birth of Jesus, Advent calls us to prepare the manger of our hearts. It’s a gentle nudge to clear away the clutter, the distractions, and the noise that often fills our lives. In this quiet space, we make room for the Christ-child, the ultimate gift of love.

Cultivating a Spirit of Repentance

As we prepare, let’s not forget the beauty of repentance—a turning of our hearts toward God. Advent is a season of reflection, a time to examine the corners of our souls and allow the transformative power of Christ’s love to bring renewal. In the words of John the Baptist, “Prepare the way for the Lord.”

The Gift of Waiting

In a world that rushes from one moment to the next, Advent invites us to embrace the sacred art of waiting. It’s not an idle anticipation but a purposeful, expectant waiting that stirs our souls and deepens our connection with the divine narrative unfolding in our lives.

Advent Traditions: A Tapestry of Faith

Whether lighting the Advent candles, reading Scripture, or engaging in acts of kindness, our traditions during this season weave a tapestry of faith. These simple yet profound traditions draw us closer to the heart of Christmas, creating moments of reverence and connection with the timeless narrative of Christ’s birth.

There are many Advent resources available to you. We’ve enjoyed Biola University’s Advent Devotions and Calendar over the years. Perhaps it will be useful to you in this season of heartfelt reflection.

Carrying the Light Beyond Advent

As Advent culminates in the celebration of Christ’s birth, let’s carry the light of this season into the year ahead. The hope, preparation, and waiting experienced during Advent are not confined to a few weeks in December but serve as a reminder to live with expectancy and the assurance that Christ is with us always.

A Journey of the Heart

As we journey through the days of Advent, let’s embark on a sacred pilgrimage of the heart. May the anticipation, the preparation, and the waiting be not just a seasonal observance but a transformative journey that draws us nearer to the essence of Christmas—the wondrous arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Also, read the blog, Advent: Preparing Our Hearts for the Coming of Christ.

Sadie Aldaya is the Research and Quality Assurance Specialist for the Special Projects and Policy Research Department, Classical Conversations Foundation. Sadie and her husband homeschooled for over 20 years. She served as a Classical Conversations field representative for 15 years, providing community and support for other homeschooling families. Sadie’s passions are to stop government encroachment in areas where they have no authority or jurisdiction and to see Christians return to a biblical Christ-centered worldview.