I think we too often take life for granted. The poet Walt Whitman once wrote, “The world is too much with us.” I believe he was saying that we are so busy that we overlook the beauty around us. And I believe too many ignore the Creator and take liberty for granted.
It’s hard not to be distracted by a world in flames. Some see “wars and rumors of wars” in apocalyptic terms. I just see that man has forgotten God again. I don’t particularly care for Bill O’Reilly, but because it’s Easter I watched the movie Killing Jesus adapted from O’Reilly’s book. I found Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ far superior with more evocative, yet disturbing, imagery.
The Founders embraced Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and acme of Enlightenment thought. Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” What soaring thoughts and how far we have fallen.
Recently, I heard a discussion about the difference between God-given rights and statutes (laws) created by men. The political “journalist” of a major news organization did not know the difference, perhaps because she discounts the notion of God. How interesting that the Constitution does not mention God, either. James Madison was a principal architect of this great document written just eleven years after the Declaration of Independence. When asked about the absence of God in the statutes, Madison said, “I guess we just forgot.”
Like Socrates, Jesus never wrote anything. We know of Socrates through his pupil Plato, and we know of Jesus through the Gospels and the Apostle Paul. Socrates was executed for corrupting the youth of Athens and blasphemy. Jesus was convicted of blasphemy as well, and crucified to appease the mob manipulated by elitist rulers who were threatened by Jesus’ message. Our Western Civilization was built upon Greco-Roman philosophy and laws. But I ask, how many ancient Greeks can you name? How many Romans? However, is it possible that someone has not heard of Jesus Christ?
I watched a political drama the other night whose story line was written around an apocalyptic cult similar to that of Jim Jones in Guyana. We’ve heard of the “end times” throughout recorded history so I don’t take much stock in the Left Behind books. I did read the first and the last books in that series.
I give more credence to a discourse found in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus is asked about the end of the world. Among other observations, the Master says that anyone who claims to know when the end will occur is a liar. However, the Master did say that the end will not occur until the word has been preached to the world. Was he alluding to the internet of our day bringing the word to everyone?
I went to the funeral this week of a relative who died weeks ago in another town. She had chosen cremation which is increasingly popular these days, and therefore the burial time was not as important as in times past. In Islam and Judaism timely burial is mandated. Recently, I learned that cremation was the typical practice in the Greco-Roman world. However, within a generation everything changed in the first century AD. The resurrected Jesus Christ changed everything.
Lately, I’ve been considering the tyranny of the minority. It seems that everyday someone is offended about something. What happened to the childhood ditty, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I am an unapologetic Christian. If you’re offended by that statement you can quit reading because I will not be silenced or ashamed of my Lord. These days Christians are subject to severe persecution throughout the world. Christians are also persecuted in the United States by activists, atheists and those who have not read the Constitution or its First Amendment.
In 1947 Justice Hugo Black wrote a majority opinion for the Supreme Court, surprisingly dealing with schools and vouchers. Black was a fan of Thomas Jefferson and came upon an obscure letter Jefferson wrote to the Baptists of Danbury Connecticut assuring them that the government was not going to establish a state religion as existed in England. In the letter Jefferson alluded to a wall of separation between secular government and personal religion. As a result of Black’s introduction in his Court argument many have been misled to believe this wall of separation is in the Constitution. It is not. And reliance on elites and the institution that gave us the Dred Scott rulings and separate but equal Jim Crow laws is a big mistake.
We hear much from those who argue about the “establishment” provision and this “wall of separation” between church and state. I received a good enough education to read and understand the most fundamental “rights” guaranteed by the First Amendment. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Now what’s so complicated about this, and why must we walk on eggshells around atheists, secularists or the politically correct activist crowd? Maybe it’s the false assumption that the majority can’t be abused.
Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” Again the Master was prophetic. I once wrote an editorial for the Sentinel entitled, “The Barely Civil War.” The tyranny of the minority has divided us and is killing America. Our decline has emboldened radical Mullahs and ISIS, and decreased liberty throughout the world.
Abraham Lincoln used Jesus’ metaphor as he ran for president. He rediscovered his faith in God and America within the crucible of the Civil War. He once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
How sad the elitist crowd today tries to shout down this quote and this great man. It is past time to stand up and pray folks; and this Easter season is an excellent time to begin.