Most of my articles on the website have been attempts to explain the law in a way that can be understood and used by non-lawyers facing legal questions or issues.  This article is not intended to define the current state of jurisprudence over church/state issues, as I believe the Courts have veered so far from the original meaning of the First Amendment. I sincerely think it will take all Americans, and not just lawyers to help set the courts straight on this issue and overturn much of the precedence setting in the post World War II Court.  I hope to provide both a historic and legal argument for why our courts should not be enforcing a secularized public square, which itself is discrimination in favor of the secular worldview. 

   It's important to note that at the time of the Constitution Convention, the United States was overwhelmingly Christian, though with a multitude of denominations in the various states.  Most Americans, particularly after the influence of the first great awakening before the Revolution, were devout and passionate Christians. At the same time, Americans generally opposed the restrictions and perceived unfairness of the monopoly of the Church of England over religious worship.  They did not want a Church of America and insisted on the prevention of a National Church with special powers and privileges over the other denominations.  This was the primary justification behind the First Amendment's establishment clause: “Government will make no law respecting the establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof.”  The issue was not public recognition of God, but state Church.
    Few Americans in modern times are aware that “Wall of Separation between church and state” is not Constitutional language, but pulled from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists written in 1802.  This letter was pulled out of context and improperly used by the post World War II Supreme Court to expand the reach of the establishment clause.  It was used to begin the faulty precedence to end of Bible Reading, School prayer, and recognition of God in the public square.  In fact, Jefferson was writing to the Baptist ministers to allay their fears of government intervention into the Baptist denomination and not the other way around.  To help lend context to the letter, a year after writing it Jefferson lobbied Congress for money to send missionaries and evangelistic resources to Native Americans.  His many references to God, Prayers, and Actions clearly establish that Jefferson did not believe God should be stricken from American public life.  As a practical argument against using the letter for Constitutional interpretation, Thomas Jefferson was in France during the Constitutional Convention.  

    As clear evidence of the original intent of the First Amendment "establishment clause": the day after passing the First Amendment Congress passed a resolution calling for a day of prayer and thanksgiving to God for the freedoms bestowed.  No, Congress did not require an Atheist, Agnostic, or polytheistic resolution.  You just won't find that kind of thing until the last few decades of American history.   Those same men who were responsible for the drafting and passing of the First Amendment were also those who stood behind Jefferson's words in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.  That they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights.  
   America's Christian character and open recognition of God in public life, at least up until the middle of the 20th century, went unquestioned on the grounds of an alleged wall of separation demanded by the First Amendment.  Famed Harvard professor Samuel Huntington put it best, when surveying American history: “To deny God is to challenge the fundamental principle underlying American society.”  Recognition of God is a major part of who we are as Americans and has helped keep us both free and strong.  As John Adams told us after his major part of the drafting of the Constitution:  "This Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other." 
  The Constitution allows and the Declaration demands we recognize and thank the divine author of our rights and freedoms.  Wisdom tells us we should never allow the prayer and/or worship of that which opposes that which bestows our rights and freedoms.  Let us ponder another quote from Alexis de Tocqueville which we ignore only if we desire the end of American greatness:  "America is great, because America is good, if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."  It is time Americans demanded the Courts reverse course on banning God from the public square and allow the system our founders intended.  

        As a Christian attorney, I come to the profession with firm and unchangeable values and beliefs.  The Bible is clear on a number of issues lawyers deal with on a daily basis:  Marriage, custody, dispute resolution, stewardship of money among others.  At the same time, lawyers have taken an oath before God to practice law under the ethics rules.  That requires lawyers to zealously represent clients within the law, protect privileged information from clients, and other such duties of advocacy.  These rules apply to all lawyers, regardless of religious beliefs, and because all lawyers take that oath, they are all bound.   Those rules do not conflict with Christian values and teachings.  That being the case, what makes a Christian lawyer different?  

       I think the first unique attribute of the Christian attorney is in the Christian admonition "In everything, do all for the Glory of God" (Corinthians 10:31).  The primary motivation for a Christian lawyer to practice law should be from a calling to the profession for a higher cause.  One verse perfectly justifies the higher calling of the Christian lawyer "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).  Many other similar verses and the admonitions of Romans 13 about justice and the power of the Judge/Magistrate give justification for Christians to act in the role of attorneys and officers of the court.  

      With clients, a Christian lawyer should go beyond legal advice when appropriate to discuss Christian values to consider, particularly with Christian clients.  The Bible tells us God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) but has provided specific grounds in which it is permissible.  In counseling someone considering divorce, the lawyer can make clear he will respect the decision of his client (within the law), but also provide Christian considerations about grounds.  This goes the same for other types of disputes, in which Christian advice can help keep within Biblical grounds in handling matters.  Romans 13 allows for Christians to take meritorious matters to the Courts, but the Apostle Paul also recommended Christians first attempt to handle disputes among themselves before going to the Courts on certain issues.  The Christian lawyer should be looking for ways conflicts can be handled in a Christian manner, particularly for Christian clients.

      Lastly, a Christian attorney should be diligent and professional in a case, attempting to do the best for his client within the law.  Ephesians 6:7 tells Christians to work hard and well, not to please men but to please God.  A Christian attorney should always have in his mind his professionalism and diligence are a witness to the world and to be commended by God.  Anything less is not within Christian values.

      I am not perfect, but strive to be a good Christian lawyer in all that entails.  It's what my clients expect, but more importantly what God expects.

Recently, pictures of West Point Cadet Spenser Rapone became widely publicized, shocking many. In one of the photos, Rapone is seen in his cadet uniform with the words, "Communism Will Win," written in his hat and prominently displayed for all to see. In another, he is seen showing off his communist "Che Guevara" T-shirt underneath the cadet uniform he wore to the West Point graduation.

Reports later showed that Rapone's online rantings included support for Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Rapone's writings were being followed by substantial numbers of millennials within the organization, "Democratic Socialists of America."

In November, a poll revealed that nearly half (44 percent) of millennials preferred a socialist society over capitalism. It is time America faced the reality of this disturbing trend among millennials and fight back with the truth.

First, let's remember the true legacy of communism and socialism. Throughout the 20th century, communism was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million souls. Nothing else in history comes close to this level of mass killing: In the gulags of Siberia and through forced starvation and dispossession of various people/groups by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Through the millions killed during the so-called "cultural revolution" by Mao in communist China. Then there were the millions murdered in Pol Pot’s "killing fields" of communist Cambodia. The legacy of death followed the experiment of communism everywhere.

Though global communism collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union, stalwarts like North Korea allow us to see the continued death of body and spirit under communism.

At the base of Fascism and Nazism, there has always been the foundation of socialism.

Benito Mussolini began as an avowed communist and atheist prior to moving toward the state-centric socialism of the Fascist movement.

Adolph Hitler and associates admired fascism under Mussolini in Italy, particularly the state control of industry, and sought to emulate Mussolini with Germany’s brand of what they would refer to as National Socialism.

Fascism and Nazism were predicated on total state control of industry and were opposed to capitalism and individual rights. More than 17 million were killed under these socialist movements. Venezuela is a modern example of the horrific effects of socialism on the people and economy of a nation. It is ironic that the ANTIFA (anti-Fascist) movement espouses socialism and opposes the alleged excesses of capitalism advocated by conservatives.

A new vogue argument for communism today, made by a number of liberal university professors and others with influence over young minds, comes with separating what happened with communism during the 20th century as from the alleged wonders of the Marxist ideal.

The problem with the argument is that the ideal of communism is not only bad but opposed to our cherished American values. Marx espoused atheism, calling religion the "opium" of the people. The most persecuted groups under communism have been religious groups and particularly Christian.

Marx decried what he called the "bourgeois" family of father, mother and children. He believed family helped foster ideas about private property and should be abolished. He also believed in the eradication of individualism and individual interests to move toward a collective society. The idea of the collective over the individual allowed for the mass killings and starvation. As Stalin put it, "You must break a few eggs to make an omelet."

Our American founders established the antithesis of Marx's communism. In declaring independence, Thomas Jefferson proclaimed to the world that God gave the individual “unalienable rights” which were to be protected by government. Included in basic human rights, alongside life and liberty, was the "pursuit of happiness."

Jefferson had followed 17th-century political philosopher John Locke's three basic rights of "life, liberty and property." Pursuit of happiness is predicated upon right to private property, but going beyond into moral decisions about the use of life, liberty and property. The American system recognized limitation of government, the primacy of the individual and family, and the importance of religion, all detested by Marx.

For those of us who came of age during the Cold War, the understanding of true communism and the importance of freedom was both shared and common knowledge.

For anyone to cheer on a victory of communism, let alone a future U.S. Army officer, would have been utterly unthinkable during the Cold War. That has unfortunately changed.

My generation has failed to acknowledge what has happened in recent years. Ignorance is no longer an excuse, and our work must be clear: Communism is the enemy of everything we hold dear, and all Americans must understand this truth.

Deluded people like Rapone need to listen loud and clear: We are a nation under God in which we all have the right to pursue happiness in our own way. Communism is a failed and wholly dangerous ideology, and it will never win.

As we celebrate the opening of our new law office, I am proud to work alongside a number of fellow attorneys and friends in Orangeburg.  Orangeburg law firms like Williams and Williams, Lanier and Burroughs, Horger Barnwell Reid, and so many others have long records of serving the legal needs of the citizens of Orangeburg and the rest of South Carolina.  What I think makes this firm unique is in the long and continuing experience and service with the United States military (Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve).  I will continue to serve while practicing law, including active duty during hurricane season!  Equally important, we seek to foster a Christian environment in the way we do business.  The DNA of this firm is being built on those principles, and I look forward to growing and developing long relationships with everyone associated with us.  Look forward to seeing many friends today at the open house!

With his recent engagement and forthcoming marriage to an American woman, Britain’s Prince Harry is again the hot topic of broad international conversation. Not surprising. People are fascinated with the Royals: They always have been.

The announcement of his impending nuptials as well as this season of the year have also taken me back 10 years to a wartime Christmas in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It was there in 2007 that I had the honor of meeting and working for a time with then-Lt. Harry Windsor (aka Prince Henry of Wales, best known as Prince Harry).

It was a rather strange period in which the world believed Harry was home in the UK. In fact, he was in Helmand making his way to a remote forward operating base for the British. The period was also unique in that most Americans were then focused on the surge in Iraq even as the insurgency in Afghanistan was growing exponentially.

Both the Americans and our British counterparts in Helmand felt as if we were serving in a "forgotten war." And we were greatly under strength when compared to the huge military footprint in Iraq.

I had deployed from the capital of Helmand, Lashka Gah, to a FOB near enemy Taliban lines over the Christmas period.

The trip from Lashka Gah began Dec. 20 when I traveled with key leaders of my advisory command and several Afghan National Security leaders to a remote base in the south.

That location was one of the few places in Afghanistan, or even Iraq, with a conventional battlefield: Friendly forward lines facing Taliban forward lines, separated by only a few hundred meters of extremely dangerous "no man's land."

As soon as we arrived, I could hear British mortars on the FOB firing at enemy positions only about a kilometer away. They were supported by artillery being fired from a separate location at the enemy’s positions. We were quickly told to take cover in the event of an enemy missile or mortar attack, which happened frequently.

We soon learned the base was manned by a company of Ghurkas, which were Nepalese soldiers serving in a distinct unit within the British Army.

During the deployment to this tiny base, named FOB Delhi, our party of U.S. and Afghan leaders visited locations throughout the local district center of Garmsir.

As senior advisers to Afghan troops, we were helping prepare the Afghan leaders to move a large unit into the fight against the Taliban and assist the coalition. As part of our visit with local Afghan leaders, we were invited to an elaborate "Eid' meal. I knew about the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, but discovered this was actually the "Haj Eid.” The Haj Eid was a three-day celebration held around our Christmas holiday in which the Afghans take time off from work and invite guests to huge meals. This was no different. Hours spent socializing and feasting. Eating with your right hand and using Afghan bread to wrap pieces of chicken and goat.

The primary purpose of our visit and meal was to reassure the local Afghan leaders of the plan to move in Afghan Security Forces.

Two days before Christmas, our group moved up to a forward position facing the Taliban. This was critical in helping us see the ongoing operations and to better prepare the Afghan forces in our charge. We moved up, knowing we would stay on this position for the two days until Christmas, well aware that we would be under direct threat of snipers and periodic attacks. The soldiers, including the Ghurkas, had to remain vigilant for immediate attacks, with body armor on and weapons nearby.

Attacks allowed only seconds to prepare but usually ended quickly due to heavy coalition firepower. Combat is unforgiving and any mistakes would be a death sentence.

Prince Harry deployed to FOB Delhi as soon as he arrived in Helmand, and went straight up to our forward position when he arrived. This was for him to visit a few of the soldiers he would command.

I remember first seeing Harry in his full "battle rattle" of body armor and weapons. It was obvious he wanted to be viewed and treated not as a prince but like any other junior officer. Of course, the Ghurkahs wanted to take pictures with him. He seemed nice enough and more than willing, though making it clear that pictures could not be released until he returned home.

After seeing his soldiers and meeting the Ghurkahs, Harry returned to FOB Delhi. We spent the night on the position.

The following morning, Christmas Day, my little party returned to FOB Delhi, exhausted from the days on the outpost.

I again saw Harry at the operations headquarters, where his job was to call in air strikes, hitting Taliban positions attempting to attack the forward positions.

Harry immediately came out to greet our little American group and inquired about his men on the line. Following the practice of the British military, in which junior officers from lieutenant through major call each other by first name, UK and American officers called Harry by his first name throughout.

Throughout Christmas Day, Harry stayed busy with the mission while the Ghurkas held makeshift Christmas celebrations and games. The UK commanding general of Helmand came to visit, though even he had not been informed of Harry's presence. Harry was a well-guarded secret, and we Americans agreed we would not disclose the secret until it was made public. No Americans divulged the secret throughout Harry's time in Afghanistan, despite the money media would have paid.

In the days following Christmas, all of the officers ate our meals together and participated in various meetings.

Harry clearly did not expect or want special treatment, He worked hard to learn his job. I periodically saw him reading books about air support. Harry also liked to talk about various subjects, including strategy. He and I discussed the operational strategy in Helmand, and British coordination with U.S. forces.

Harry also liked to talk about his storied regiment, the Household Cavalry, and the fact that his company of the Blues and Royals had hundreds of years of tradition and lineage. He was exceedingly proud of that.

I served with Harry for that week before and after Christmas, and then again during combat operations in northern Helmand during February.

Harry’s service, particularly over Christmas 2007, earned our respect and gratitude.

He could have served in a safe location in Afghanistan and demanded VIP treatment. Instead, he chose the most dangerous spots in the most dangerous province. I thought Harry's service was in the tradition of the ancient ideal of "Nobless Oblige: "To those whom much has been given, much is expected.” This is in contrast to so many of the children of the modern "elite" families in the United States and in the UK showing little of that ethos.

I will never forget that Christmas of now-10 years ago and the brave young American and British soldiers there on the line. And I will never forget the service and great example of the young prince.

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