Category archives: Misc.

Ken Frieling: Faithful. Steady. A great smile.

by Keri Boeve

June 12, 2014

What greater joy is there than to share about one’s dad in honor of Father’s Day? I can think of none greater, particularly since I know many are not blessed with a father in their life or one they would care to honor.

I would describe my dad in this way: faithful, steady, and has a great smile. This description may not carry much pizazz for an occasion of honor, but to me it typifies who my dad is and why he is so special to me.

Let’s start with the obvious – his smile. My dad’s smile is the best. It radiates joy, brightens his whole face, and makes his eyes twinkle. What makes it even more special is the fact that his dad, my grandpa, smiled the same way, as do my uncles, Dad’s brothers. It is a trademark “Frieling man” smile. Perhaps that is why it is so endearing to me. When I see my dad smile, I can subconsciously say, “Yep, that’s my dad.”


My dad was the anchor in my family as I grew up. His quiet, even-tempered personality combined with his love for his family made him a steadying influence in our family of seven. Aside from the unfortunate tango with a wasp’s nest, Dad could usually keep his cool and display a level head, even when tempers flared and siblings fought. He was always there when you needed him. As a child, I know his steady presence in my life gave me security, comfort, and confidence. As a teen, his presence (and questioning) kept me on the straight and narrow. To this day I know my dad will be there when I call, ready to help.

Finally, and most importantly, my father’s faithful walk with the Lord has provided a powerful example to me of a “life well lived”. I cannot recall any deep, theological conversations with my dad, but I do vividly remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning for school (or so it seemed in high school) and finding my dad sitting in his recliner quietly praying and studying the Bible. He has a servant’s heart and an unshakeable faith that can only be found in a close walk with God. Our family has experienced many joys and sorrows over the years, and my dad has faithfully trusted in the Lord and prayed through each and every one. Nothing warms my heart more than to have our now grown family gathered, all 27 of us including spouses and grandchildren, and have my dad lead us in prayer. What a legacy he is creating, and what a blessing I have been given to have this faithful, steady, and yes, even smiling, man to call father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, you are the best father this girl could ever ask for.

Dawn over the Jefferson Memorial

by Robert Morrison

April 15, 2014

Well, she did it again this year. My dear wife of 425 months decided to add one more item to an already full schedule on Palm Sunday.

Let’s go by and see the Cherry Blossoms,” she piped up. I groaned. Not this Sunday. There will be millions of people there. We’ll get stuck in traffic, just like we did last year. Can’t we go some other time?

Of course, that’s part of the great appeal of the Cherry Blossoms in Washington. They come when they come. And it’s hard to predict how long they will last. Even a brief thunderstorm can put an end to them.

But, this Palm Sunday was already looking very full. First, I had to visit a friend in jail. (Yes, we do that kind of thing.) Then, we were slated to attend worship services with friends at their Northern Virginia church. After that, we were slated to go to Sunday brunch. I was afraid we’d get stuck in one of those can’t go ahead, can’t go back congested affairs around the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin. We’d be locked in and it would throw off the whole day’s schedule.

Let’s go early, my bride countered. Very early. So we did. The sun was just rising over the Capitol as we entered Washington. The stately dome with its Statue of Freedom was bathed in a pink glow. I pass the Capitol Dome twice a day every day I drive in to work. I never stop marveling at its ever-changing classical beauty.

This day, I tried to envision a huge banner draped across the length of the western portico of the massive structure. At just about this time of year, April, 1865, the Commissioner of Public Buildings, Benjamin Brown French, had written a message to celebrate the victory of the Union army at Appomattox. French chose the words from Psalm 118: 23:

This is the Lord’s Doing; It is marvelous in our Eyes.

Around the grounds on Capitol Hill were many lovely trees just budding out. Beautiful. Wouldn’t they do?

Not quite. On we drove down Constitution Avenue. We passed the newly restored Washington Monument. The scaffolding that has surrounded that majestic obelisk is finally down. The monument is scheduled to open again for visitors on May 12th after nearly three years of repairs. The earthquake damage of August 23, 2011, threatened to permanently close this popular tourist attraction, but an excellent job of restoration has been done.

I’ll be especially eager to walk down the stairs to the 555-foot monument and report on the many tributes to our Founding Father inscribed there. Simply to take that descent is to learn a lot about our country’s history. And, of course, there’s the simple fact that the aluminum pyramid that tops the monument has an inscription—Laus Deo—on its east front. Because the law proscribes any other building from surpassing the Washington Monument in height, the first rays of the sun will always strike those words: Praise the Lord.

Finally, we come to the Jefferson Memorial. The dawn is breaking and the Cherry Blossoms are at their peak. It is truly a sight to behold.

So I dutifully get in line with ten thousand other beholders. Even at dawn, the crowds are dense. Forget about parking. The Park Service is not interested in having you park. So we look for a place to let my wife jump out to take pictures. I’m planning to make a circuit and pick her up again. And then, seeing gridlock ahead, we decide against it.

Then, she reminds me what day this is. It’s April 13th. Why, it’s Mr. Jefferson’s birthday! That’s a rare treat. And we are here at his memorial 271 years later.

Inside that classical dome, are inscribed his words that first inspired me to take up a cause our Supreme Court had rejected:

The God Who Gave Us Life Gave Us Liberty at the Same Time.

The best part is we made it to visit our inmate friend in jail and to worship with our friends on Palm Sunday. (We made it to the brunch, too.) Next year, we vow, we’ll come earlier still. We’ll park at the office and walk over.

I’m hooked. I confess I cannot resist the pleas of my loving wife. She is right. This beauty must be seen and savored.

March Mildness

by Robert Morrison

March 20, 2014

My friend Frank invited me to watch the last basketball game between the University of Virginia and University of Maryland. The 61-year rivalry between the near neighbors ended earlier this month. University of Maryland is leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for the Big Ten. Frank and his pal Charlie are fanatical Maryland alums (are there any other kind?) Frank told me not to wear any U.Va. fan gear as we would have good seats — in the heart of Terrapin Country. “Wear your high school ring,” Frank said, “and we’ll pick you up at the IKEA parking lot in College Park. We wouldn’t want your car to get rolled over.” Are they always like this?

It was a great last game. Virginia and Maryland see-sawed throughout, but Maryland pulled it out 75-69 in overtime. The fans in the Comcast Center are perhaps the noisiest this side of the Seattle Seahawks. It’s been decades since I’ve taken in a college game of hoops. What a good-natured crowd it was, too. They booed one of the Virginia players mercilessly every time he held the ball. That’s because he committed to Maryland but changed to U.Va. after the Terps changed coaches. Seems reasonable enough for me.

Even though the Virginia Cavaliers came up short in that Maryland home game, they’ll always be winners in my book. Seems they take some guidance from a respected coach and a certain good book. Here’s a March Mildness story for this crazy month.

Washington Examiner: DOJ should Investigate Southern Poverty Law Center for Consumer Fraud

by JP Duffy

April 29, 2013

Today, a Washington Examiner editorial called on federal government agencies to stop “bolstering” the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-Christian organization that has been linked in federal court to the domestic terrorist shooting at Family Research Council.  Instead, the Examiner suggests that the Department of Justice should consider investigating the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for consumer fraud:

What should be questioned, however, is why federal officials are bolstering this richly endowed group that critics across the political spectrum have long said does little besides enrich Dees and viciously slander groups he dislikes. The Justice Department’s Feb. 6, 2012, Civil Rights Summit, for example, featured SPLC spokesman Mark Potok, and SPLC speakers have been promoted by DOJ at similar events in Kansas and Arkansas. Instead of endorsing the SPLC in this manner, maybe the Justice Department should be investigating it for consumer fraud.”

The credibility of the SPLC has suffered in recent weeks after the revelation that the organization appears to have mislead investigators in the Texas District Attorney murders. The SPLC was also wrong when it attempted to blame “right wing groups” for the Gabby Giffords shooting.  The Examiner, and Gov. Mike Huckabee are exactly right. The SPLC is a thoroughly discredited organization that should no longer be promoted in anyway by government agencies.  

P.S. The Court announced today that the sentencing of Floyd Corkins has been rescheduled for July 15, 2013.

Gov. Mike Huckabee calls Southern Poverty Law Center one of the “Biggest Frauds in America”

by JP Duffy

April 26, 2013

Earlier today, General Jerry Boykin,FRC’s Executive Vice President appeared on Mike Huckabee’s radio show to discuss the release of a new video that shows the Southern Poverty Law Center’s link to the terrorist shooting at Family Research Council on August 15.  

In the interview, Governor Huckabee said, “I am going to do everything I can to expose the Southern Poverty Law Center for the fraud that it is…for the complete disingenuous service that it does to this country by falsely and I think just ridiculously naming decent organizations as ‘hate groups.’  They should be held accountable for the manner in which they have created the acrimonious… environment in this country and have done all kinds of things to falsely label people and get them targeted. People need to know that this is not some benign organization.”

Listen to the interview here.

Security footage: Hero thwarts terrorist shooter at Family Research Council

by FRC Media Office

April 25, 2013

In an age when it seems heroes are hard to come by, it’s stirring to see a genuine hero in action. Last August, FRC building manager Leo Johnson was temporarily manning the front desk at our Washington headquarters when a now-confessed terrorist intent on killing everyone in the building entered with a handgun and 100 rounds of ammunition.  As he drew his gun, Leo courageously charged the attacker into oncoming gunfire.  Even after sustaining a direct hit to his forearm, he subdued the attacker and wrestled the gun away from him.

Leo Johnson’s heroism saved countless lives that day. Now you can see the never-before released security footage that shows just how quickly tragedy was averted.  Please share this video with friends, and help pay tribute to a true hero.

Cherry Blossoming

by Robert Morrison

April 23, 2013

I rarely disagree with my bride of 413 months. Not more than two or three times a week, I’m sure. So it was only under my breath that I questioned her idea of driving into Washington, D.C. recently to see the Cherry Blossoms. The Cherry Blossoms attract visitors from all over the world to our beautiful capital city. Now, there are cherry blossoms on the Yard of the Naval Academy, and we live in Annapolis, so why the push to go to Washington? Well, because Washington’s Cherry Blossoms are so very beautiful, surrounding the Tidal Basin and framing the Jefferson Memorial, as they do.

They were a gift a hundred years ago from the people of Japan. Part of the allure of the Cherry Blossoms, certainly, is their evanescence. They last but a few days. If we have a windstorm, a hailstorm, even a heavy rain, the Cherry Blossoms can be gone in a flash.

Of course, the fact that they are here such a brief moment in time is what draws the tourists from around the country and around the world.

My point, exactly. Any other time, my beloved is hard to draw into Washington. We live only thirty-two miles away, but I say it’s like scraping barnacles off a ship’s hull to get that dear lady into the District.

So which day, of all days in the year, might she choose for a family excursion into the Capital? The peak day of the Cherry Blossoms! It was the very day when much of the rest of the world wants to see them, too!

I rode in the van with my son-in-law and the grandchildren, as we led my wife and daughter in a second car. I muttered “This day of all days!” He has grown used to these expressions of patience and forbearance from me. After all, he’s family now.

As we came up on Capitol Hill, however, my smile through gritted teeth turned into something more genuine.

What’s that big round thing, GranDad” our four year-old grandson asks. “Why, it’s the Capitol of the United States; it’s where Congress meets to make our laws.” For once, I forget about Obamacare and a lot of the other bad things happening under that Dome. I point out the lady standing on top. That’s the Statue of Freedom.”

Oh, GranDad, what’s that big pencil,” he wants to know.

That’s the Washington Monument, I tell him. “Do you work in there,” he asks.

I cannot tell a lie. No, but I’ll take you to the building where I do work.

He and his twin sisters are taking it all in.

Even though we have to drive into Virginia to come around the Lincoln Memorial and get in line to see the Cherry Blossoms, I am by this time in a much better frame of mind.

Maybe the Missus idea wasn’t such a bad one, after all.

And yes, those thirty-six columns on the Big White Box are for all the states we had when President Lincoln lived here. No, he didn’t live in the Big White Box. But I’ll show you the house where he did live.

We slowly make the circuit of the Tidal Basin, in line with approximately 1 in 7 of the seven billion others on Earth.

Parking finally at my office, we dash across the street for a picnic in the Atrium of the National Portrait Gallery. Now, the grandchildren can be unstrapped from their car seats. They were amazingly content to see the Cherry Blossoms and all the monuments. Shouldn’t I be?

They find that stone rectangle on the floor of Atrium, the one with 1/8 inch of water constantly flowing over it. It seems to have been created for no other purpose than for children to splash in it. And they don’t even get other diners wet.

Splish, splash.. Joining them on the rectangle is a boy of about eight. He runs through the water. He wears a yarmulke. This boy has a serious birth defect, but his bearded young dad is teaching him how to take photographs with one finger.

I am thinking how grateful I should be to have witnessed such tender scenes. I was taught the shechechanu, a Hebrew prayer for such moments.

Blessed be Thou, O L_rd, Master of the Universe, that Thou hast preserved us in life to savor this experience for the first time.

And I also thank God for my wife. She has this maddening quality: Even when she’s wrong, she’s right!

An Afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery

by Robert Morrison

April 16, 2013

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind,” the Admiral said. He was offering a short eulogy to our friend, retired Navy Captain Nori Endo. Yesterday was Nori’s committal ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. I had never attended a burial on this hallowed ground of our nation, and Nori was a friend. As Rev. Dr. Terry Martin-Minnich said in her brief devotional, “Nori befriended you before anyone friended you.”

We met, some eighty of us, in the Fort Meyer Chapel. It’s a modern structure, with a vaulting wooden ceiling. Open to the sky through clear windows, we can see the blossoming of the trees, each one bearing the promise of new life. “Our Lord had written the promise of the Resurrection, not in books alone,” wrote Martin Luther, but in every leaf in springtime.” Following an earlier impressive memorial service at the Naval Academy Chapel, we are here to witness Nori’s firm belief in that Resurrection.

The Chapel, though modern in design, proudly shows the flags of America. There are “Don’t Tread on Me” flags—in yellow and in red-and-white stripe versions. There is the Grand Union flag with its English Union Jack and thirteen red-and-white stripes. There is a Pine Tree flag, with the motto: “Appeal to Heaven.” It reminds us of our country’s Christian heritage. From the beginning, Americans appealed to the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. And for most of us, that appeal rang forth most powerfully from the pulpit.

On the altar is an old wooden cross draped in Easter white. It, too, is a symbol of age for this mostly aged congregation. No, actually, it is a symbol of timelessness. That cross reminds us of Him who is the Alpha and the Omega.

Nori’s beloved widow Ruth is escorted to her place of honor in the front pew by a young, crew cut Navy enlisted man. He does his duty with all ceremony and solemnity. Let no one despise your youth, sailor.

Six enlisted men of the Navy Honor Guard heft Nori’s flag-draped casket onto a carriage, where it is wheeled silently to the altar. Nori is saluted by the sailors, and by everyone there, merely by our presence. He was, as they said, “a beloved husband, father, captain, believer.” Nori had endured internship as a boy, along with thousands of his fellow Japanese-Americans, during World War II. But he never expressed bitterness and raced on to his life of achievement and honor. He lived a Christian life, as the speakers said, and seemed at times to be almost an “anachronism in a secular world.”

We are all anachronisms, or should be. The world is telling us to be now people. But God wants us to be forever people.

After the Navy band played “Onward Christian Soldiers,” we return to our cars and follow the horse-drawn Army caisson slowly, deliberately to the gravesite. Down Bradley Drive, then Porter, then Eisenhower, the street names at Arlington this misty spring day are a roll call of America’s military past. We pass the row upon row of tombstones standing in silent serried ranks as if on parade. This is what they have called “the bivouac of the dead.” And amid these warrior stones we see others. “His wife.” “His wife.” There is a lesson here, too, united they are in death as in life.

Under a canopy, the casket rests as the Honor Guard folds the flag Nori served so well. The bright blue triangle displaying only its brilliant stars is passed down the line of sailors and handed with deepest respect to a Navy Captain. He is in full dress uniform. The soft jingling of his medals and sword the only sound heard as he presents this flag to Ruth with the thanks of a grateful nation. Then, the rifle squad fires three rounds—crack-crack-crack. And we hear the strains of Taps on the bugle.

Finally, Rev. Martin-Minnich quotes from John 15:15

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

And so we bid farewell to Nori Endo, our friend and His friend.

Star-Spangled Compromise

by Robert Morrison

January 29, 2013

And another thing, I didn’t like Beyoncé’s performance of the National Anthem. I don’t mean to get into the controversy over whether or not she should have lip-synched The Star-Spangled Banner. I think it would probably be okay to do that for purposes of amplification. After all, the million plus folks who came to witness the Inauguration last week ought at least to be able to hear the ceremonies.

It’s not because I don’t think Beyoncé is beautiful or that I don’t think she has a lovely voice. She is and she does. What I didn’t like was turning the National Anthem into a blues ballad. It ain’t that.

There is a traditional way to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. It doesn’t take long to listen to it. There’s a perfectly fine rendition of it online. Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill does a fine job with the U.S. Air Force Band.

The enthusiastic audience reception for Mr. Merrill and the band probably include hundreds of Americans who know that the anthem is supposed to be sung as “a sprightly martial air.” If we cannot hear our National Anthem properly sung at a presidential inauguration, for Heaven’s sake, where can we hear it?

It would have been especially nice to have the traditional National Anthem because we are approaching the bicentennial of the poem written by Francis Scott Key. The young Maryland lawyer was on board a British warship, trying to negotiate the release of an American prisoner, during the August, 1814 bombardment of Fort McHenry. The British war fleet was trying to reduce the fort to complete their invasion ofMarylandby taking the important port city of Baltimore.

In the rear of those British forces that grim summer lay the nation’s capital. The invaders had staged a quick short but destructive raid on Washington City. They torched the White House, the Capitol, and even the Library of Congress. British soldiers ate President Madison’s dinner in the Executive Mansion before setting it ablaze. First Lady Dolley Madison had raced to save the large Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington that again hangs on the wall. Only a hurricane force storm had quenched those flames.

I would love to hear that anthem sung as it should be sung. And perhaps at the next presidential inauguration, we might even hear this verse:

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand?

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation;

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The no-God-here crowd wouldn’t like it, of course. But they don’t like the president putting his hand on the Bible, having the Bible in plain sight, hearing “…so help me God,” or anything else most Americans want to hear at this solemnizing event. We need to remind these atheizers that it’s a swearing-in, not a swearing-at.

Here’s a Star-Spangled Compromise: Let’s ask inaugural organizers for the January 20, 2017ceremonies to invite Beyoncé back. Only this time, ask her to sing Ray Charles’s version of America the Beautiful.

That great song is not our national anthem, but it’s a national treasure. And no one did it better than the inimitable Ray Charles. Just thinking of that scene –January 20, 2017 – gives me a warm glow. I can’t wait.

Surprise, Surprise - Egypt’s Morsi Made Virulently Anti-Semitic Remarks

by Chris Gacek

January 16, 2013

Well, the New York Times published an article Tuesday documenting virulently anti-Semitic remarks made by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in 2010.  Here is the first paragraph of the story:

CAIRO— Nearly three years ago, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a television interview months later, the same leader described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”

Now, aren’t you glad President Obama has hitched America’s wagon to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood?  Wonderful.  Let’s shovel a few more billion dollars to Egypt and throw in some jet fighters and Abrams tanks.  The Chinese will lend us the money at a great interest rate.

Yet, we should be reassured by Seth Mandel’s posting on the Commentary magazine blog.  He takes note of a column from Bloomberg with the headline, “Obama: ‘Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are.’” Apparently, Mr. Obama said this “privately and repeatedly.”  That must make it true.  (It also indicates that the President’s aides have a different understanding of “privately” than he does.)

Frankly, I think Israel probably had Mr. Morsi pegged as its enemy and as an enemy of the West (i.e., the United States) a long time ago.  Mr. Obama probably hasn’t figured it out yet.  I think I will bet that Israel has a better understanding of its national interests than does Mr. Obama.

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