Greetings, and I pray everyone reading this had a blessed Merry Christmas. But now at least for me, it’s onto massive quantities of college football bowl games.
Of course, it’s the day after Christmas and most folks will be out and about to find after-Christmas bargains, or return items. I pray we all took the time on Christmas to read the words of Isaiah 9:6 (NIV), “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Those words remind us what Christmas is truly about, which is the strength and power behind the day we remember the greatest gift given unto us from our Heavenly Father, God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. The strength of Christmas isn’t in giving gifts or their return, but in remembering the true purpose of the day we call Christmas.
And so I ask a simple question: where does the strength of America lie? I would like to present two competing visions and responses to that inquiry.
The first came just this week from current President Barack Obama. As reported by CNS News, “President Barack Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, released a pre-Christmas statement yesterday [Tuesday 22 December], celebrating the fifth anniversary of his having signed legislation that allows openly homosexual, lesbian and bisexual individuals to serve in the U.S. military. “Today, Americans can serve the country they love no matter who they love, and openly gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women in uniform make our military stronger and America safer,” said the president.”
What I found interesting is that Obama would make this declaration before acknowledging the deaths of six U.S. troops in Afghanistan, one of them, an openly lesbian major, “married” to her partner. But you see, the vision of strength espoused by President Obama has nothing to do with the essence of American intestinal fortitude. It has everything to do with the liberal progressive ideology that equates values to social justice based on individual behavioral choices. That has no relevance to the combined strength of our nation — a power unlike no other on this earth.
The strength of our nation and of our military isn’t based on who someone chooses to engage with in an earthly, human personal relationship. The strength of our nation is based on personal sacrifice to serve something greater than oneself.
It is rooted in the Judeo-Christian faith heritage comprising the belief that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends [for another]”. This is the strength of our nation, and it began when those brave Americans stood against the British at Lexington Green. They fired a shot heard ’round the world, but the actually lived up to and embodied the premise of John 15:13.
And so in contrast to the empty political rhetoric of President Obama, consider the words of our first president. “The book, George Washington the Christian, by William J. Johnson, highlights Washington’s religious foundation, his prayers, his religious habits, and his actions taken as a Christian soldier. “George Washington descended from a long line of excellent churchmen,” states Johnson. “If Washington’s military character was developed out of materials which came to him by inheritance from both sides of his family, so too was his religious character. That love of the church which we have seen as a distinguishing mark in his family became a strong inheritance which his own will and intelligence did not set aside.”
Washington took those values and beliefs with him in the army and encouraged others to do the same. According to Johnson, when Washington was told that the British troops at Lexington had fired on and killed several Americans, Washington replied, “I grieve for the death of my countrymen; but rejoice that the British are still determined to keep God on our side.
”The day after Washington took command of the army on July 4, 1775, he issued an order saying, “The General most earnestly requires and expects due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance on Divine service, to implore the blessing of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.
”About a year later on July 9, 1776, Washington issued another order defining a “Christian soldier.” It stated, “The honorable Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a chaplain to each regiment, with the pay of thirty-three dollars and one-third per month, the colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure chaplains accordingly, persons of good characters and exemplary lives, and to see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect.”
The sad thing is that today General George Washington would be castigated as a religious extremist and someone like Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation would have Washington brought up on courts-martial charges — you know, like he recommended for U.S. Air Force Major General Olson for speaking of his faith. General, and eventually our first president, George Washington realized from where the true strength of our nation and its military came. It was not from whom we supposedly “love” as defined by Obama and those subscribing to his ideological agenda.
The strength of our America comes from a simple love of each other as Americans and our resolute willingness to stand and fight for our liberty and freedom. And we must have an inner spiritual liberty before we can grasp the concept of earthly liberty.
George Washington completely understood the latter didn’t come until one embraced the former. Lift your eyes unto the hills Americans, from whence cometh our help, our strength. And only until we lift our eyes to the hills, shall we be able to restore the shining city that sits upon that hill.
(In the meantime, enjoy the college football bowl season, Go Vols! and EMAW!)