Skip to content

Valor and Disability

Public Notice for the Invalid Corps (1863), Author US War Dept. (PD)

The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matt. 11: 5).

In the midst of a brutal Civil War, the need for manpower was so great that the US War Dept. on April 28, 1863 created the Invalid Corps a/k/a Veteran Reserve Corps [1].

Comprised of men severely disabled by wounds or disease, the Invalid Corps was to have been an honor corps of soldiers who had already served faithfully, but would now be assigned light tasks in order to free up healthy men for the front lines.

Instead, the Invalid Corps was despised by one and all – its members reviled as cripples, cowards, and malingerers.

Despite this, the Invalid Corps served valiantly.  Jeered as the Infidel Corps and the Cripple Brigade, the Invalid Corps often put in longer hours with fewer breaks than able-bodied men.

Soldiers whose limbs had been amputated and nerves shattered guarded prisoners, railroads, and essential supplies.  They arrested bounty jumpers, and patrolled city streets.

  • Vastly outnumbered, the Invalid Corps supported local police during the vicious New York City draft riots of July 1863.
  • On June 20, 1864 the 18th Regiment of the Invalid Corps was called on to oppose 4000 Confederate troops led by Gen. Wade Hampton.  When asked whether the injured men under his command would stand and fight, Col. Charles Johnson responded, sarcastically, “Tell the general that my men are cripples and they can’t run [3].”  The Confederates were successfully driven back.
  • On July 11, 1864 Confederate Lieut. Gen. Jubal Early launched an assault on Washington DC [4].  Only the Invalid Corps was immediately available to defend the Union capitol.  The 5th, 6th, 9th, 19th and 24th Regiments took up positions along the defensive line of forts around the city.  Convalescents left their hospital beds to take part.  Heavy fighting ensued.  But the Invalid Corps held the line until reinforcements could arrive.

No monument exists to the Invalid Corps today.  But the sacrifice and devotion of its members were undoubtedly recorded in heaven.  They stand as testament to the fact that disability is not the measure of a man.

It is when we have no resources that our valor is tested.  It is when we have been incapacitated that our mettle truly shines.

[1]  Wikipedia, “Veteran Reserve Corps”,

[2]  Maryland Public Television (MPT), “The Invalid Corps”,

[3]  National Museum of Civil War Medicine, ” ‘Tell the General that My Men Are Cripples and They Can’t Run’:  The Field Service of the 18th Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps, May – June 1864″, 5/21/19,

[4]  Smithsonian Magazine, “When Washington DC Came Close to Being Conquered by the Confederacy” by Thomas Lewis, July 1988,


The Downside of Smart and Green Technologies

Smartphones in use at railway station, Author, Source (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

We cannot, it seems, live without the latest technological devices:  computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, smart locks, smart doorbells, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart speakers, and virtual assistants to coordinate them all.

We are, meanwhile, being told that “green” technology is the wave of the future; that electric cars are the ethical choice [1].

But there is a hidden cost to this technology.

Rare Earth Minerals Lost

Irreplaceable rare earth minerals like cerium, dysprosium, indium, neodymium, praseodymium, and terbium are being depleted for our smartphones, flat screen TVs, electric cars, solar panels, and wind turbines [2A][3].

Pollution Increased

Unfortunately, the refinement of rare earth minerals for so called renewable energy produces toxic byproducts.  The Chinese mines and factories churning out these gadgets for sale to the West are generating pollution on an epic scale [2B].

Slavery and Child Labor

Worse still, global supply chains extending into the United States for smartphones and designer clothing far too often rely on slave or child labor [4]. Read more…

Apples of Gold

My favorite memory was when I messed with everyone's life and mainly Paris' and gave him this apple promising… | Papel de parede de ouro, Tudo dourado, Ouro dourado

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov. 25: 11).

By the time of the American Revolution, 7 of the original 13 colonies had abolished slavery through the efforts of Quakers, Methodists, and other Christian denominations.

The practice of slavery clearly ran counter to the principle of liberty, but slavery as an institution was not viewed as unconstitutional prior to the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln respected the Constitution, but recognized this inherent contradiction.

As Lincoln knew, the Constitution does not exist merely for its own sake, as though it were only a set of procedural rules.  It is intended to preserve the principle of liberty for all [1]. Read more…

Four Chaplains

US Postage Stamp: The Immortal Chaplains (1948), Author Bureau of Printing and Engraving, Source US Post Office (PD as work product of federal govt.)

On the night of February 3, 1943 the Allied troop transport SS Dorchester was struck by a torpedo from a Nazi submarine [1].  The ship sank in 27 minutes.  Coast Guard escort ships, Comanche and Escanaba, were able to rescue only 231 of 904 servicemen from the icy waters.

Amid the chaos of the scene aboard, four chaplains calmed sailors and distributed life jackets.  The men were Lt. Alexander Goode, Jewish; Lt. George Fox, Methodist; Lt. Clark Poling, Dutch Reformed; and Lt. John Washington, Roman Catholic.  When life jackets ran out, the chaplains gave away their own.

As the Dorchester went down, survivors could see the four chaplains, arms linked and heads bowed in prayer [2A].  Survivor Grady Clark wrote [2B]:

“As I swam away from the ship, I looked back.  The flares had lighted everything.  The bow came up high and she slid under.  The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men.  They had done everything they could.  I did not see them again.  They themselves did not have a chance without life jackets.”

In 1998, Congress honored their sacrifice by designating February 3 as “Four Chaplains Day”.

[1]  Wikipedia, “SS Dorchester”,

[2A and 2B]  “Miracles in American History, Volume 2” by Susie Federer (2019).



Human Trafficking – Warning Signs

Schematic showing global human trafficking, Author Genetics4good (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported).

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Because human trafficking is frequently hidden in plain sight, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the non-profit Innocents at Risk, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office have identified the following warning signs [1]:


  • Impoverished, with few if any personal possessions.
  • Malnourished, with poor physical or dental health.
  • Indications of physical injury.
  • Tattoos or branding, especially on the neck or lower back.


  • Avoidance of eye contact.
  • Scripted social interaction or avoidance of such interaction altogether, with individuals not allowed out in public alone.
  • Avoidance of law enforcement.


  • Official identification documents lacking.

Read more…

A Proud Hispanic Heritage

Portrait of Bernardo de Galvez, Source (PD-Art, PD-old-100)

Few outside Texas are today taught about the 18th Century Spanish leader, Bernardo de Galvez [1].  But that Colonial Governor of Spanish Louisiana played a crucial role in the American Revolution.

Mustering men from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, and the Canary Islands, Galvez defeated the British at Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and Pensacola [2].  This opened the Mississippi, allowing essential munitions and supplies to reach Americans.

The City of Galveston (Galvez’ town) is named after Bernardo de Galvez. 

Migrant Caravan of 2018

“The caravan..started out…from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the most dangerous cities in the world…I have walked the dirt lanes of that gang-ridden [city]…If I lived [here]…I would do anything to protect my children from being recruited into a gang, murdered by a gang or gang raped.  Walking more than 2000 miles to the US border?  You bet.  Until I dropped from exhaustion and had to be carried.”

-Lynn Monahan, “The roots of the caravan”, Maryknoll Magazine, March/April 2019

Fast forward to 2018, when a Central American migrant caravan approached the US border [3].

Fleeing poverty, corruption, drug wars, and gang violence in their countries of origin, some were seeking refuge.  Others were hoping to secure jobs that would allow them to send money to families back home.

The large group size was meant to serve as a defense against human traffickers. Read more…

Isolation and God

Isolation at Glacier Point, CA, Author Ben Bowens rndmben13, Source (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

During this coronavirus pandemic, many have experienced loneliness, isolation, and alienation.  The following is excerpted from an articled titled “We Belong to God – and one another” by Joseph Venerosa which appeared in the March/April 2019 edition of Maryknoll Magazine:

“…One of the ironies of modern life is that while the world is more populated than ever, people feel more isolated and alienated from one another.  One of the worst feelings is of not belonging…

In the Gospels, we see Jesus…going to the margins of society, to the sinner and outcast, the sick and the poor, and accepting people where they are, without preconditions, and making them family….So when did we become such strangers to one another – and to God?”

Read more…

The Center of America

American flag, East Burke, VT, Author Artaxerxes (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

These are profoundly dangerous times.

Our nation’s Capitol was this week assaulted by followers of Pres. Donald Trump, incited to violence by the president.  This was not peaceful protest.  It was insurrection.

Yet, 147 Senate and House Republicans persisted in objecting to legitimate electoral outcomes in Arizona and Pennsylvania – perpetuating a lie that many have been led to believe, a lie that the election was “stolen” [1].

In so doing, those Republicans ignored numerous unsuccessful lawsuits contesting the election; a brazen attempt by Pres. Trump to pressure Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to subvert election results; and the impassioned plea below from a fellow Republican [2].

Please, pray for America.

“I don’t think we want to tell the Americans that come after us that this Republic is broken; that this is just a banana republic; that our institutions can’t be trusted…

America isn’t Hatfields and McCoys, blood feuds forever.  America’s a union.  There’s a lot that’s broken in this county, but not anything that’s so big that the American people can’t rebuild it…

Generations of our…ancestors have spilled blood to defend the glories of this Republic.  Why would they do that?  Because America is the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.  And because the Constitution is the greatest political document that’s ever been written.

Most governments in the past have said that ‘Might makes right’ and we saw some of that…today.  Might makes right.  No, it doesn’t!  God gives us rights by nature, and government is just our shared project to secure those rights.

America has always been about what we choose to do together…

[B]ut the heart of America is not government.  The center of America is not Washington, DC.  The center of America is the neighborhoods where 330 million Americans are raising their kids, and trying to put food on the table, and trying to love their neighbor.  That’s the center of America.” Read more…

The Beauty of the Lord

Lot 329: William Shakespeare Burton oil, King of Sorrows

“King of Sorrows” by William Burton (c. 1897).

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!” (1 Chron. 16: 29).

Enmeshed in our own lives, we often take for granted the beauty of the Lord. Our needs, our desires take precedence, despite the fact His beauty is all around us.

That beauty is reflected in infinite ways by the natural world – not only by flowers and trees or majestic vistas, but by the relationship of His creatures to one another.  Great and small, they are interconnected.  Great and small, they are dependent on Him.

We are not excluded from this picture.  We, too, depend on Him for our existence.  Were He another kind of god, He might demand our obedience on pain of death.  Instead, He asks for our love. Read more…

DNA from Medieval Manuscripts

Illuminated manuscript showing Cistercian monks at work and prayer, Cambridge Collection (PD)

Scientists have succeeded in extracting DNA from a 1000 year old manuscript known as the York Gospels.  The manuscript contains the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, along with clergy oaths and land records [1].

Illuminated Manuscripts

Medieval monks crafted illuminated manuscripts which other churchmen read and handled, down the centuries.

Human and Animal DNA

That DNA from such individuals should have been obtained is nothing short of amazing.  DNA has, also, though been obtained from the cows and sheep whose skins became the parchment onto which the York Gospels were written.

Using animal DNA, researchers can trace medieval trade routes, or discover how a particular disease pathogen impacted medieval herds.  Three samples yielded enough DNA to compare cattle genomes from the Middle Ages with today’s.  The most complete parchment genome was similar to modern Holsteins and Norwegian reds. Read more…