Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Vietnam War Is Not the Example I Would Use

I'm beginning to think that pontificating on history should be like performing surgery: legal only with a great deal of training from accredited institutions. I say this because I am dumbfounded that anyone would use the Vietnam War as an example of virtue.

Dr. Tony Beam (Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky) did just that.

General Omar Bradley, a hero of World War II once said, “America today is running on the momentum of a godly ancestry, and when that momentum runs down, God help America.” We were given an incredible gift by our Founding Fathers. They established this county on sound biblical principles while recognizing that all reasonable religious expressions should be allowed. They gave us a Constitutional Republic as our form of government. They inserted checks and balances to protect the rights of the minority and to curtail the power of the majority. It is a form of government that has experienced hundreds of peaceful transitions of power without violence.

Well, yes, slavery is a biblical principle. I will grant you that. Democracy, not so much. Um, you know, if you've actually read the Bible. Is there some special fundy version of the Bible in which Jesus preaches at length about the House of Representatives and the Executive Branch? Does it come right after he says to cut off food stamps for poor children and declares universal health care a tool of Satan?

I was going to snark on General Bradley because that quote sounds an awful lot like that momentum is all very white, but it sounds like he was a nice guy. Wow. He was literally born in a log cabin, which is so American, I have broken out in a flag-shaped rash. Although, given the time period, he could have been a nice, patriotic guy and totally racist. My grandfather was quite the progressive for his day and was still fairly racist. Anyway . . .

When the pilgrims came to America it took them twenty-three years to pay for their own passage. They were blown five hundred miles off course, missing Virginia and landing in Massachusetts. But when they finally stood on that rocky coast, they fell down to their knees, kissed the earth and wrote “We establish this state to the glory of God and the spread of the Christian religion.” Still, there are those who question the role of Christianity in the founding of this great country.

Ah, the Pilgrims. Yes, fleeing the religious tolerance of Holland, they were. Trust me on this one. No Pilgrim would consider Dr. Beam to be a Christian, nor would they have thought the group of Deists and Theists that actually founded the United States were Christian. Pilgrims =/= Founding Fathers.

The Constitution is a call to personal and collective responsibility. John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” The ability to protect our freedom does not lie in the might of the military but in the minds and morals of the American people. It is moral character based on the teaching of God’s Word that led Washington to endure the horror of Valley Forge and to cross the Delaware in the dead of night to attack an army far superior to his. That same character has led United States troops across the beach at Normandy, through the jungles of Southeast Asia, and across the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.

I wonder what Mr. Adams thought about his colleague, Mr. Jefferson, who removed all reference to Jesus from his Bible. The "moral character" of the US led to the hopeless mess that was the Vietnam Conflict? (And don't get me started on Afghanistan and its lovely mountains. Perhaps you've heard of them? The Himalayas?) Blessed are the peacemakers, someone once said, and then half the world did war in his name. How perfectly odd.

The great leaders of our past were men of character whose belief in God bound them to ideals they were ready and willing to defend to the death.

Like slavery!

Our country is suffering from a host of problems

Damn religious right.

We find ourselves in a mysterious malaise not unlike that described during the Carter years.

LIBERALS! Seriously, the way these people talk about Carter, you'd think he was Stalin in disguise, deliberately sabotaging American . . . Americanness.

Extracting ourselves from this wilderness of uncertainly and doubt about the American dream will require the rediscovery of character…the kind of character that was present in the soldiers we honored on Memorial Day.

Okay, if you're not American, referencing the American Dream and soldiers and Memorial Day in the same sentence is criticism kryptonite for other Americans. As an American, I am legally required to start waving a flag around and sing our National Anthem and I cannot in any way evaluate any statement made from this point on.

Fuck it. France sounds tasty.

We need leaders who will give us something other than government to believe in. We can retake our ship of state and get it back on course for safer waters but only if we realize that the freedom we seek is not freedom from moral restraint. It is the freedom to pursue what is right.

Belief sucks! Wait, that's my line. Now I'm confused. And what part of feeding the poor and equal rights are morally unrestrained?

Character comes from morality, which flows out of our right relationship with God.

Actually, I would say that morality comes from character. I'm moral. Plenty more moral than every Christian who defended slavery and fought against interracial marriage, and maybe they did have a "right relationship" with your imaginary friend. Is it possible to have a wrong relationship with a fantasy?

Restoring America to a place that rightly defines and vigorously defends what is right means returning to the personal righteousness that comes from a personal relationship with God through Christ. Only as we are made holy by repenting of our sins and returning to God can we be made whole again.

Whole slaveowners invading countries for no good reason. Yay!

1 comment:

  1. I'd settle for a culture whose pediatricians don't offer to prick little girls' clitorises before realizing that sanctioning such a thing is only keeping the harsher tradition of female genital mutilation alive. Or is that unamerican?


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