Noah Riner Says "Jesus" at Dartmouth Convocation

On Tuesday, September 20, Noah Riner stood in front of the entire incoming freshman class during Convocation at Dartmouth College. As student body president, he had been asked to give the tradition Convocation remarks welcoming the class to the college. The son of a Baptist State Representative in Kentucky and a committed Christian, he knew what he had to do. And he did it. Noah went on to give what will be remembered as one of the boldest, most focused welcoming speeches ever given by at any Ivy League school. Although he started out with the usual hype ("You are such a special class"), his tune quickly changed.
But it isn’t enough to be special. It isn’t enough to be talented, to be beautiful, to be smart. Generations of amazing students have come before you, and have sat in your seats. Some have been good, some have been bad. All have been special.
The young man boldly cut straight to the issue at hand. A Dartmouth education, he said, might make you smart or successful, but it won't build character. Noah quoted Martin Luther King Jr:
"But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. . . . We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education."
Noah spoke about the atrocities committed by hundreds after the ravage of Katrina. But, he said, his purpose was not to condemn them as much as it is to condemn us. He was speaking to the freshman class, but his words apply to you and I just as much as them. Character problems, he said, are an integral part of all of us.
Let's be honest, the differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven't been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.
He could have stopped here. People's feelings might have been slightly hurt, but no one would have been unduly upset. But he didn't just stop there. The class president took a deep breath, then said just what he had planned.
The best example of character is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character.
Noah knew he could still stop now. Sure, he had dropped the Jesus bomb, but anyone would concede that Jesus was a good example of character (even though some would argue that the example Noah had given was not the best). But Noah is a Christian.
Jesus is a good example of character, but He's also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people like corrupt Dartmouth alums, looters, and me.
Now he had done it. A murmur of surprise swept through the crowd. You could almost hear the student's thoughts. "So Jesus is the only solution, huh?" "What a bigot." "Yeah, sure. Save the preachin' for the pulpit." Noah quietly told the assembly that everything they gained from Dartmouth would prove to be superficial in the long run. What really matters, he firmly said, is character.
Thus, as you begin your four years here, you've got to come to some conclusions about your own character because you won't get it by just going to class. What is the content of your character? Who are you? And how will you become what you need to be?
Read the full speech here.
As you might expect, reactions were immediate. The school newspaper began printing anything and everything that students wanted to say. Some were good, some were bad. Riner's opponent in his earlier presidential race was livid. He called Riner bigoted, preachy, zealous . . . you name it. But that's not surprising. After all, he had been trounced by this kid from "backwoods" Kentucky in the last election. In fact, the angry student ended his letter by declaring that students "didn't need to make a decision about Jesus." Now who's preaching? Other students were more open to the controversial remarks. A young Jewish boy said that although he personally disagreed with the point of the speech, he thought that Noah's willingness to use his right of free speech and stand up for something he believed in was commendable. The discussion about this is still in full swing. The blogosphere is abuzz with stories about Noah Riner's "preachiness". It's one thing to read this speech. Noah's words are timeless. But it is quite another thing to see the speech being given. You can download a video taken by Noah's father, Representative Tom Riner, at this link. So take a look! And say a prayer for Noah while you're at it. His e-and-snail mailboxes have been mobbed with congratulations and hate mail. It's very hard for him, since he is starting his junior year and is trying to juggle classes and interviews all at the same time. He would no doubt appreciate it if you would submit a prayer request for him at your local church. Credit: I first saw this at The Rebelution but got other information from the various Dartmouth websites and personally from the Riner family. In Him, D3


Protecting Fundamental Rights and Freedoms | A 28th Amendment

Today, my great-grandfather Starling visited our church assembly and our home for a little fellowship. The man is 93 years old and still sharp; he remembers everything that ever happened to him since he was a boy . . . and can tell you all about it, too! On this trip, he was very excited about a new idea that he had for the United States. He is worried that very soon, our courts and legislators will begin looking to Europe and other countries for a legal basis. This is not as far-fetched as we may think; Sandra Day O'Connor, the Supreme Court Justice who just resigned, often said that we should follow the European's lead when setting new legal precidents. With the condition that cowardly Europe is in, this would prove disastrous to all that makes America great. So, my great-grandpa wants me to contact Jay Sekulow with the American Center for Law & Justice with a proposal for an protective amendment to the U.S. Constitution! Pretty sharp for 93 years old, isn't he? I happily typed up a legal document in Constitutional format defining the things he wanted to put forth and sent him home with a copy to read. I decided to post it, so here it is!

Text of the Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution Section 1: No ruling by any court, domestic, foreign, or intergovernmental, nor any legislation by any foreign or intergovernmental legislative or parliamentary body, which abridges or restricts any fundamental freedoms as defined below, shall be accepted as legitimate or used as the basis for laws or legal rulings in the United States.

Section 2: Each citizen of the United States not convicted through due process of law of a felonious crime is guaranteed the following liberties under this amendment:

Subsection 1: The liberty of free speech: the freedom to verbally express their personal beliefs and convictions in any environment, public or private, provided that such speech is not terroristic in nature. Only speech designed to cause fear of imminent physical bodily harm or treason against the government of the United States shall be defined as terroristic.

Subsection 2: The liberty of free press: the freedom to print or electronically transmit any materials expressing any beliefs under any circumstances, and the freedom to distribute said materials provided that said distribution in no way interferes with the personal preference of the recipients of such materials.

Subsection 3: The liberty of free belief: the freedom to hold any personal beliefs concerning truth and the freedom to share these beliefs with others in any circumstances provided that the transmission of information does not disturb the free movement of the individuals.

Section 3: Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States have the authority to enforce this amendment by appropriate legislation and judicial rulings.
Not bad for about 15 minute's work! The first section defines exactly what the amendment is speaking of. Don't worry that "abridgements" of your freedoms will be prevented by private entities. The first section insures that only foreign and domestic courts and foreign parliaments will be barred from "infringing" upon these rights. So an employer can still tell people not to talk on the job. Notice also that this amendment would in no way hamper Congress. In fact, it would give Congress added authority under the Constitution (section 3) to prevent more injustice than it currently is allowed to. I don't think that any foreign rulings should be accepted in the U.S. However, such a blanket statement would likely draw huge flak, so I carefully defined each value in section 2, especially that part concerning felonious convictions. If you are convicted of a felony, then you have basically handed your freedoms over to the government to be dealt with as they please. The amendment is just in draft form at the moment. However, as I look over it I can probably smooth out the rough edges and make it more presentable. What do you think about it? Any suggestions on what needs to be edited/inserted? In Him, D3