Christian Nation?

ThinkerLast year, about this time, the President decided that he would not have a National Day of Prayer observance in the Whitehouse. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Other Presidents, Republican and Democrat, did not do it either. Around that time, he also stated during a press conference in Turkey, a Muslim nation, that Americans do not consider ourselves a Christian nation. In fairness, he went on to say that we also do not consider ourselves a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation, etc. I certainly disagree with that. We are not a country that is ruled under the tenets of a religion as are the Muslim nations for example who are governed under Sharia law, but we are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. We are a nation that is predominately Christian and try as they may the progressives have not been able to beat that out of us. I believe we are indeed a Christian nation. In God We Trust anyone?

Every politician I have ever observed closely, at some point used faith as a political prop. Rare ones were sincere. The President has proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ as recently as an Easter event at the Whitehouse. I do not want to get into a lengthy tit for tat about whether or not the President is Christian or believes that he is, that is something he will have to resolve before God someday as we all will.

There are some things that do not sit well with me. I try hard to be true to my faith, but like all of us mortals I often come up a little short. The important thing is that I know it when it happens and I try to fix it. There are some things that one simply cannot support and claim Christianity as his or her faith. One of the commandments for Christians is that you shall not commit murder. If you kill an unborn child, in my view, you have committed a murder. The question each of us must deal with is whether there is a difference between actually committing the act or creating and supporting laws that make the act legal in the eyes of men? That is another of those judgment day questions that is going to make it uncomfortable for some of us.

It was interesting that a month after the President decided that there would be no National Prayer day observance at the Whitehouse; he found room on his schedule to host a gay pride event there. Recently, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council had his invitation to speak at a Prayer Day luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base rescinded. Although he was not going to address the subject in his prayer day address, he is a vocal opponent of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Mr. Perkins was a Marine Corps officer. He knows that it would not be correct to address such a political subject as a guest on a military base. Is it coincidence that his invitation was rescinded right after the State of the Union address where the President said he wanted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Arguably the most well known name in the United States of America and possibly the world to Evangelical Christianity is Billy Graham. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association continues important work around the world led by Franklin Graham. The Pentagon disinvited Franklin Graham from speaking at the Pentagon National Prayer Day observance. What got Franklin Graham disinvited was speaking out against Islam, especially its treatment of women. You should know if you do not, that such a high profile and important Christian leader would not be disinvited from the Pentagon without the knowledge and concurrence of the Whitehouse.

Maybe the President is right. Maybe we are not a Christian Nation – at least in his eyes.

© 2010

Blame Game

ThinkerOne of my mentors when I was a teenaged Army Private was a Puerto Rican First Sergeant named Pedro Olivari. First Sergeant Olivari was nearing the end of a distinguished Army career when I knew him in 1972. His constant companion was a stubby cigar. That was well before the smoking police criminalized smoking indoors. He was a combat veteran of Korea and Vietnam. In Korea he was battlefield commissioned. He achieved the rank of Captain and commanded a company. As the Army often does, or did, following the strength buildup during the Korean War, there was a reduction in force. His Captain rank was not permanent so he was given the option to remain in the Army as an enlisted man, which to the Army’s benefit he did.

In the Army, you are always replacing someone. Sometimes, when things do not go as they should the temptation is to blame whatever the problem is on the guy you replaced. This was one bad habit Top Olivari would call you out on. It was nearly 40 years ago, but I am fairly certain that I first heard this illustrative story from him.

As a First Sergeant was leaving his job, he passed to his replacement 3 letters that were numbered 1, 2 and 3 and sealed in envelopes. He told his replacement if he encountered a problem and it was not going well for him he should open the first letter. It was not long before the new First Sergeant encountered such a problem. One evening while sitting alone and contemplating his problem, he opened and read the first letter. The first letter said blame this problem on the old First Sergeant and if it happens again open the second letter. It was not too long until the need arose to open the second letter. The second letter said blame the problem on the old First Sergeant and if this happens again open the third letter. Blaming it on the old First Sergeant became easier, a habit, so as soon as there was another problem he did not hesitate to open the third letter. The third letter contained a different message. It said write three letters.

Now I don’t know if George Bush left any letters for his replacement, but if he did it must have been a bunch of them.