('76 Editor) Two important articles published recently, along with a classic from the early Reagan years, remind us how deep and grave are the pathologies threatening American self-government -- and map out the fundamental change of thinking we must achieve as conservatives if our country is not to go the way of Rome or Britain. Contemporary writers Jeff Bergner and Matthew Spalding in recent weeks have echoed the insights of Stan Evans, Bill Buckley's compatriot in the 1980s, warning that the fateful options we face are to understand the soul of America either as unlimited government seeking a coercive utopia (the liberal or progressive vision), or as limited government wherein freely choosing individuals can order their own lives (the Founders' vision). It goes so much deeper than just arguing over who's up and who's down in the polls, how to keep entitlements and the deficit in hand, and whether Democrats or Republicans should win the next election. Underlying those superficial matters is the question of what self-government really means -- and whether Americans are still capable of it.
If you love our country and want to be part of saving and renewing it, I urge you to study these three profound diagnoses:
Can Republicans Govern? Not Unless They Change 'The Narrative'By Jeff Bergner, The Weekly Standard, Feb. 8, 2010
A Republic, If You Want It: The Left's Overreach Invites the Founders' ReturnBy Matthew Spalding, National Review, Feb. 8, 2010
Unlearning the Liberal History LessonBy M. Stanton Evans, Imprimis (Hillsdale College), March 1980
('76 Contributor) A personal viewpoint is hereby submitted by William Dent Sterrett III, this date February 6, 2010. In honor of the Founding Fathers and the United States Constitution, and as a proud member of the Posterity, so eloquently referenced in our Constitution (with its intent to secure "the blessings of liberty" to this generation as well as the framers' own generation), I hereby share my earnest and energized thoughts regarding our great and thriving nation. This position statement is presented for consideration, deliberation, and response.
We the Posterity…steadfastly believing in the innate rights and blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do hereby state our goals and principles to better promote the common good for all law abiding citizens.
We the Posterity…further proclaim our resolve for compassionate, dignified, and constructive relationships that emphasize the general welfare.
We the Posterity… embrace and celebrate the collective spirit, wisdom, and resourcefulness of a unified and responsible national community.
We the undersigned will exercise our voting rights and responsibilities with due diligence while seeking out candidates for public office who clearly and inspiringly address the following position statements:
1. The overwhelming majority of our population entails law abiding citizenship. It is imperative that leadership exercise bold vision centered on outcomes that provide for the common good while addressing the vital issues that affect our sovereignty and security. The United States of America, as the premier governing nation, must continue to be universally viewed as a highly respected and representative governing body that will protect her own interests and come to the aid of other lawful nations, especially in times of crisis. The United States of America must be one of the leaders in modeling and holding others accountable to standards that disavow self-serving ambitions at the expense of universal law, ego-thumping rhetoric, arrogance, and exaggerated attempts for personal or national attention. Our nation must remain strong in rhetoric and military readiness.
2. The 911 Commission, the Iraq Study Group, and other distinguished bipartisan groups formed for the common good should convene regularly with diverse and fluid membership. The on-going findings and recommendations should be made public and fully honored with deliberate resolve for a better United States of America. The People should also hold the three branches of government accountable for a conscious awareness and appropriate actions regarding the recommendations of these commissions and study groups. The specific strategies recommended by the 911 Commission, for example, include a balanced use of: military action, diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense. It is important to note that the magnitude and profound meaning that results from a comprehensive product of considered thought, reflection, and humble agreement among a representative group of the Posterity should not ever be diminished or ridiculed because of personal agendas or biases. 3. Immigration reform should be implemented immediately based on the best collaborative work of the executive and legislative branches. It is entirely reasonable to expect sooner, rather than later, a comprehensive package of provisions that reflect a society dedicated to high ideals. Resourceful and informed individuals should be consulted with regard to the market for immigration, all the pertinent aspects of legal entry into our country, and the ramifications of no clear law. Mean-spirited comments and actions that presume to place blame serve no useful purpose.
4. The United States of America has historically and dramatically been a party to resolving problems and crises throughout the world. The United States of America must continue with pragmatic leadership while sharing the high ideals of a republic firmly grounded in democracy and freedom. The United States of America must energetically and rightfully project a positive image and command honored recognition while advocating and committing to assist and facilitate other countries with their needs particularly with regard to poverty. This entails deliberate action regarding engaged, visible, and reportable diplomacy.
5. Candidates for public office should articulate clear and sensible strategies concerning law enforcement, budget practices, justice, public education policies, health care, social security, and purposeful living by all citizens. Candidates should also demonstrate fair and honorable campaign practices.
6. Energy policies that recognize the underlying economic, political, and power-orientation problems, as well as the not too distant shortage potentials with current energy sources, should be aggressively studied. Measured and informed proposals regarding new forms of energy and strategies should be presented for public consideration within a reasonable timeline. Our citizenship is blessed with creative minds and entrepreneurs who have solid and practical ideas and solutions with regard to our escalating demands. They should be sought out, welcomed, and engaged in active problem solving.
7. Health care is the responsibility of all. Why would an individual not have some kind of health care plan? Some can easily address this basic necessity. Others have pretty decent coverage, albeit at hefty expense. And others, of course, do not possess the resources for any kind of coverage. When in dire need, they almost always will be treated, but at whose expense? The People. And that is fine, but reality dictates that there must be a better way to conduct the business of health care. So, it is time for the great and passionate experts to come together and get this down on paper. Let us develop a plan where everything is laid out, and we clearly state how we will pay for a better plan.And, as always, that plan will evolve into a better one as the years go by. That’s just the American way.
There will always be evolving measures for the betterment of ourselves and our Posterity.
Reference the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, September 17, 1787:
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The collective wisdom of the People is of paramount importance. We must continue to step forward and clearly speak as one to promote the honorable and rational aspirations of our great nation. Our country was founded through courage, high energy, and passionate convictions. We, the Posterity, must seek out leaders who honorably, conscientiously, and properly serve the People and the Constitution of the United States of America. We, the Posterity, are charged with carrying on the work of our Founding Fathers.
We are the Posterity. How will we follow through? How will we carry on? What is our role in a better United States of America and world community?
Our noble work continues.
Bill Sterrett of Golden, Colorado, retired in 2003 as a master teacher in history and other subjects after 30 years with Jefferson County Public Schools.
('76 Editor) Particularly a college such as CCU, devoted to the same biblical truths and principles as most of our Founders? Centennial Institute asked for advice on teaching our country's history to college students, from a dozen of the most thoughtful Christian conservatives in America today. Their recommendations on the most important ideas to be taught, and the best books to help do that, add up to a rich intellectual feast. Our Centennial Institute report, "How Should an American College Teach American History?", contains a summary in the survey respondents' own words. Respondents included David Barton of Wallbuilders, Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute, J. Budziszewski and Rob Koons of the University of Texas, Kenneth Cribb of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Alan Crippen of the John Jay Institute, Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College, Douglas Groothuis of Denver Seminary, author Peter Marshall, Marvin Olasky of The King’s College and World magazine, Paul Prentice of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Here is a link to the report: centennial - teaching history.doc (76.50 kb)
We look forward to your comments on the report. While it's true, as I often remind patriotic friends, that America isn't specially anointed in the Bible, Lincoln was right when he suggested our moral and spiritual heritage confers upon us special opportunities and obligations as an "almost-chosen people." Colorado Christian University, along with any Christian college and for that matter any intellectually honest college, must strive to convey these objective realities to all its students. CCU's newly revised curriculum is a response to the challenge. It took effect last fall, as explained here: ccu curriculum revision nov08.doc (159.00 kb)
There's a case of Founding Father forgetfulness creeping through the GOP. Sarah Palin recently showed the extent of the infection. But it seems Colorado is not immune, and may be in desperate need of the vaccine.
In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, Palin was asked to name her favorite Founding Father. While visibly scrounging through her mind's historical file cabinet, she bought some time by declaring, “Well, all of them.” Beck fired back: “Bull crap.” Like a young paralegal, she continued to search her files, eventually producing a name: “Of course, George Washington.” The light bulb above her head was almost blinding, the relief in her face embarrassing.
But while Palin's latest hiccup may cause our historical hearts to murmur, she is not alone in her post-antiquity amnesia. In fact, Palin resembles some Republicans in Colorado.
In November, CCU hosted a debate between the top four Republican candidates for Colorado's upcoming U.S. Senate seat (Ken Buck, Jane Norton, Cleve Tidwell, and Tow Wiens). After the questions about health care and national security came a lighthearted question by moderator John Andrews. The query went something like this: “Tell us what President of the United States you would like to travel back in time and have dinner with?”
While one could not expect the Continental Congress to dominate the dinner table, one could at least expect names such as Washington, Adams, or Jefferson to garner an invite. But according to our potential senators, such patriots would go hungry at their dinner party. Instead, Teddy Roosevelt would have to shuffle his schedule, as most picked him for Andrews's imaginary dinner date.
To be clear, Teddy is not a bad choice. But at a debate where the themes of “fixing Washington” and “getting back to our roots” permeated the discussion, one could not help but note the absence of those who got it right in the first place. And in a national conversation dominated by partisan politics, are we asking too much when we ask our leaders to name a favorite statesman from an era when statesmanship, not rhetoric, brought true hope and change?
So what is the cure? I can't say for sure. But the medicine must contain a steady concoction of history, civic duty, and respect. Historians such as David McCullough, with his book John Adams, could offer the perfect prescription. But it's up to our leaders to fill those prescriptions. Otherwise, we may end up with a group of civic servants who no longer esteem those who have created this democracy. Or worse, who just can't remember.
What does Burj Khalifa, the world’s new tallest building dedicated this week in Dubai, have to do with the Twin Towers destroyed eight years ago? In Islamic Law non-Muslim buildings are not allowed to be higher than Muslim ones, especially mosques. According to Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, non-Muslims “may not build higher than or as high as the Muslim’s buildings” o11.4(5).
In a statement released from prison by Khalid Sheik Mohammad, mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks soon to be tried as a common criminal in New York, boasted, “Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day.” (CNN Online, 3/10/09) What is most disturbing, however, is when the American Left celebrates the felling of the Twin Towers. Norman Mailer responded to the 9/11 attacks by saying, that "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that Tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed." (Interview, 2001)
Ayn Rand’s disciple Harry Binswanger noticed, “First, observe the target: the World Trade Center. What does the World Trade Center symbolize? It is the core of Wall Street, which is the base of New York City. New York is the dynamo powering America—the so-called Great Satan.” Juxtapose this with “the images of Osama bin Laden and his primitive, bearded barbarians squatting in the dirt around their campfires in Afghanistan.” America stands for “individual freedom, the freedom to use one’s independent mind to produce material prosperity, a rising standard of living, and individual happiness on this earth. Freedom, Wealth, Happiness.” (Columbia University Lecture, 10/2/2001)
The World Trade Center towers were 1368 and 1362 feet, the tallest buildings in the world from 1973 to 1998, when Malaysia constructed their 1482 foot tall twin towers in Kuala Lampur. That record held until the other day when Dubai surpassed it at 2717 feet. It is also worth noting, that an Islamic Investment Group has bought the tallest building in London, the Pinnacle, a 945 foot building in the financial district.
By the way, there is a mosque on the 158th floor of that new tower in Dubai, which hopefully will satisfy the Shar’ia injunction that infidel buildings may not be higher than those of Muslims, presumably making it unnecessary for Al-Qaida to knock down any more of our buildings.
--------------------Additional Recommended Reading: Raymond Ibrahim, ed.; The Al-Qaida Reader (Broadway,2007), and Lawrence Wright; The Looming Tower: Al-Qaida and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage,2006)
('76 Contributor) There is only one way out of the mess we are in: to face the truth of how we got into it and apply the proper medicine. How did the United States, the leader of the free world, get on to the road to a totalitarian system financed by American tax payers?
Most Americans do not have a clue what a totalitarian system is. Let me tell you from experience: it is a godless society where there is no justice. The totalitarian leaders are always right while the opposition is always wrong. Rules are based on lies forced upon people by godless and corrupt functionaries. Totalitarian systems grow out of immorality. Immoral people can be manipulated; moral people cannot. Protest, and you will be sanctioned. We will experience the end of freedom and the rule of the lie. Founding Fathers will be presented as greedy capitalists. There will be multi-religious “faiths” which includes watered down Christianity. We had that in Germany. The “German Christians” promoted National Socialism in religious language.
You will be told by our president Barack Obama and the godless bunch of politicians what to believe. In the global ideological battle for the role of God in human society they stand contrary to our Founders. They are neither Christians nor patriots but enemies of God and the Constitution. They aim at replacing God’s commandments by making people believe that they know how to solve every crisis. We are not in a battle between socialism and capitalism. That is only superficial. The real battle is between God and almighty man, between truth and lies.
A free and strong America stands in the way of the global rule of the lie. The trillion dollar projects are not meant to resurrect the American economy, I believe, but to destroy it. Marc Faber, better known as Dr. Doom, compares US financial policy with Zimbabwe’s. There you paid 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars for three eggs in March of 2009. In the twenties, my mother went to my father’s office every day with a big suitcase to pick up the salary which filled the suitcase. Even today I do not understand how people with a fixed salary lived. After WWII, on weekends, hundreds of thousands of city people poured into the agricultural parts of Germany to exchange their valuables for food.
Nazi Germany failed because of godlessness. When I began to figure out how the Nazi atrocities could happen I noticed that many people, including church-going Christians, lived as I had done: for myself and not bothering about what went on in government. I realized that as I am so is my nation. I was a liar who lied for small personal advantages, and if all German people were like me, it was no wonder Hitler could get away with his atrocities. He lied for big political stakes. With my lies I, who detested the Nazis, was closer to Hitler than to Jesus Christ. Going to church did not make me a Christian.
Godlessness is denial of God’s commandments. There is the personal denial, for instance somebody who lies or commits adultery. And then there is the national denial, the organized abandonment of God’s commandments in the form of laws or other legal means, like abortion or holocaust, making murder legal. What is evil becomes legitimate. These procedures begin with a lie to oneself. One convinces oneself that this lie is necessary for the good of the nation. But in reality it is for the advantage of the liar. After lying repeatedly the liar doesn’t realize what he does and he cannot distinguish any more between right and wrong. And that is the moral position of most politicians today. If not addressed, not trillions of dollars will make a difference.
Human nature is the same around the world. Every person has in his heart the voice of evil and the voice of truth. Evil does not present itself as such but as beautiful and tempting. Without a moral guideline men or women will follow the easy path of appeasing what is evil and will become part of it. Every society, including democracies, will end in a totalitarian system. No wonder that those Democrats who want to sell us into totalitarian slavery are also the vanguard of immorality. They should be sent home.
In these days we celebrate in Christian America the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God, our savior. Europeans who followed Jesus made God’s commandments the basis of our Constitution. It led to a rich society and the most powerful nation in the world. However, a considerable part of citizens have forgotten its roots. Our policies are the damnable manipulation of other people for their own advantage. May God have mercy on this nation. May America find a national rebirth in Jesus Christ, the only way out of the mess.
('76 Editor) Good news. Death is on defense this week. That’s a big reason for the excitement about Christmas and Hanukkah. It should make these holidays welcome even among people who don’t share the biblical beliefs they represent. And it should humble the believers themselves. Civil harmony would benefit. “Merry Christmas” and “Peace on Earth” are still annually proclaimed in lights on the City and County Building, after Denver’s mayor decided against substituting something generic a few years ago. Following a similar bout of hesitation, small-town EnGolden still has its menorah display. We all ought to cheer if we love life.
The Christian faith, along with the Jewish tradition from which it grew, has enlivened our civilization through the centuries with a message of unshakable hope for the human future. The Old and New Testaments argue for an eternal reality in which the grave is not the last word. America as we know it is more humane, dynamic, and purposeful as a result. That’s well worth a celebration every December.
Long before Jesus or Moses, of course, rituals of rebirth were observed at this time of year as the life-giving sun starts its comeback and the days lengthen. So if you prefer a winter solstice festival, fine. Solar cycles will always be with us. But they don’t put death on defense as Christmas and Hanukkah do.
“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” says the fatalism that believes bodily existence is all there is. Scripture contradicts it. Economic guru John Maynard Keynes gave the modernist version when he shrugged, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” Don’t be so sure, say the faithful.
Hope of immortality through their descendants was already a given for the Jews among whom Jesus was born. Many also believed in a bodily resurrection. Christ’s followers were sure of it. Correct or not, that meant conducting themselves in this world so as to be worthy of the next. Moral seriousness grew. All of society felt the gentling effect.
If death cancels life, period, why shouldn’t might make right? Why shouldn’t ethics begin and end with “if it feels good, do it”? It’s different if eternal punishment awaits brutality and tyranny. New incentives come with expecting we’ll have to live forever with the consequences of how we treat each other. This was the awesome force of good that arrived with the baby in the manger.
The Romans who ruled Bethlehem, like the Magi who brought gifts, idealized justice but never knew its author. Knowledge of “the Supreme Judge of the World,” as the Declaration of Independence calls him, is uniquely the Judeo-Christian contribution to history. The result was a vast increase in motivation for achieving peace on earth through goodwill to men.
Peace and justice are far from realized, as each day’s headlines attest. But infanticide, genocide, slavery, and the subjugation of women, once accepted, are now condemned. Freedom and democracy, once rare, are spreading. Heartless death-dealing and all kinds of living death are lessening in our world because of the Hebrew girl’s son who was “born that man no more may die.”
Think about it. Every news story about economic relief or homeless shelters or animal rescue bespeaks a life-affirming ethos that is the very opposite of Lord Keynes’s “dead in the long run” callousness. We’re that way partly because of a faith tradition that sees past death.
As for the so-called Christmas wars, isn’t government or commercial sanction of Jesus’ birthday a false issue? He asked for nothing of the kind. He did ask us who follow him to be more childlike, less demanding. Faithful and unfaithful alike need to lighten up. After all, many believe the light of the world is here – and they don’t just mean the solstice.
As Christmas comes, reactions abound. Since the fourth century AD, when Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, church service attendance in Western Civilization is greatest at Christmas and Easter.
Prior to Constantine, Christianity was illegal and thus did not attract people who were not deeply committed. Ironically during this period of intense persecution the number of Christians grew at a phenomenal rate, with an organic underground-style network of small home-based churches (much like China has been experiencing since the rule of Mao Zedong). That amazing growth, before Constantine, laid the foundation for Christianity’s widespread acceptance leading to a more organized Christianity.
Yet in many ways organizing Christianity stifled the life-transforming power that grew the earlier organic Church. And in more recent decades the spike in attendance at services for Christmas and Easter has decreased, while critical reactions toward or around these two special Christian days has increased in both number and intensity.
The name CHRISTmas forces most people to consider at some level: Who was Christ and why should his living two-thousand years ago make any difference to us today in our hectic modern life where we are bombarded with ideas trying to answer life’s most basic questions?
Many find this season warm and joyous. Yet others respond from indifference to an outright repulsive reaction to Jesus Christ’s claim to be God, the creator, sustainer and restorer of humanity and the world.
Some reject Biblical moral boundaries, while other rejections are connected to horrific acts done in the name of Christianity, or at least by self-identified Christians. While it is important to acknowledge such acts as horrific, it is just as important to ascertain if such acts are condoned or condemned by Biblical teaching, lest we throw baby Jesus out with the filthy and corrupt bath water.
As Americans, does the Christmas story have anything to do with: our freedom to think and express ideas; our freedom of religion; the equality of people; or even ideas like the size and reach of government?
Clearly the individual rights and freedoms that have long-defined America are not because of where America sits on the globe, but rather they fall directly from a worldview that sees humanity as unique and special and worthy of protection. And Christianity, which teaches that people are created in the image of God and that God came in human form and gave his life to provide a means for every person to have a restored and harmonious relationship with their Creator, puts a value on human life that is arguably much higher than that of any other set of ideas.
Cultures, which have embraced the Biblical value of humanity, have delivered the greatest level of individual liberty. While not all American founders embraced orthodox Christianity, they did embrace the Biblically-based view of human nature and that every person is created equal “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The American experience, just like our own life experience, has had its struggles putting these profound ideas into practice. Yet had these ideas not sprung from a real foundation the American experiment in liberty would have been a futile effort, like every other culture that does not value humanity.
In recent decades some in America have been pushing America away from its foundation, with the result being increased chaos. Chaos has been answered by increasing the size and reach of government, leading to a decrease in personal liberty and making our personal and national future much less secure. We would be wise to look at the results of godless national experiments before we take the leap.
If atheism or any other set of ideas is true then by all means let us live life accordingly, but let us not take that jump without first investigating the idea which arguably has most radically and positively changed the lives of people and civilizations: Biblical Christianity.
Granted Biblical Christianity, unlike most other sets of ideas, does not align well with human logic, where might makes right, or utopia is achieved through personal effort. Does that not suggest that Biblical Christianity is not a human creation, but more likely revelation from our Creator? Even apart from the continual historical and archeological validations of Biblical history, Biblical teaching on human nature, the human condition, and the path to restoration, ring incredibly true with human experience.
Humanity is creative and desires to express that creativity. True faith cannot be forced upon someone. Vast power (control of resources) invites corruption, whether in business, politics, government, or religion. Left unbounded by inner moral guides or external militant guides, people and cultures self-destruct. Incredible transformation and healing does result when people bond with their Creator. Indeed these human experiences align with the Biblical presentation of humanity.
Ideas do have consequences. Ideas that ring true with life experience yield better results for us individually and for cultures. This Christmas, consider investigating genuine Biblical Christianity directly from its source document and resting your future in ideas that ring true and truly transform.
Mark Shepard writes from Vermont, where he formerly served as a state senator.
('76 Editor) Americans from the major Christian faiths, seeing an imminent move by the civil power against God-given elements of a sustainable and free society, are putting their names to a resistance manifesto known as the Manhattan Declaration.
Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical leaders developed the declaration in recent weeks and released it on Nov. 20. It spells out why the biblically faithful citizen cannot consent to laws and policies that destroy innocent human life, redefine marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman, or trample religious liberty. And it envisions the potential need for civil disobedience to such laws.
The Manhattan Declaration in full, some 4700 words, is here. A summary is here. The online signature page for adding one's name, as more than 197,000 individuals have already done, is here. I signed in a gesture of wholehearted agreement and active support. Will you?
(Denver Post, Nov. 22) Were you as shocked as I was to read in the paper last Sunday that Frontier Airlines’ new boss prays for his employees and sees them as made in the image of God? The very idea. Who would want to work for a man like that? It certainly cast a pall over my Thanksgiving season.
One of those offended by Bryan Bedford’s faith-based capitalism was Buie Seawell, a DU ethics professor and Presbyterian minister. Since principles such as respecting co-workers are “universal values,” scolded Seawell, “God would be pleased if we did that without doing it in his name.”
But the right reverend is wrong. The equal dignity of every individual is NOT a universal value. Ask the billions who live under Islamic, Hindu, or Marxist oppression. It matters whether we’re regarded as endowed by the Creator or evolved from slime. So acknowledgment of the Author of our liberties has been understood by great men from Washington and Lincoln to FDR and Reagan as being essential to the preservation of those liberties.
America’s tradition of Thanksgiving, first proclaimed by President Washington, is integral to this. When leaders in business and media, education and science, the military and the arts, as well as political leaders, reverence higher authority at this or any time of year, they ennoble themselves and all of us. Of clergy who rebuke them for it, the less said the better.
On this day in 1963, Nov. 22, two of the most influential men of the century died. One, of course, was John F. Kennedy, slain in Dallas. Remember his pledge that the United States would “pay any price, bear any burden, to ensure the survival and the success of liberty”? If our sense of purpose is less certain now, perhaps it’s from forgetting a truth asserted by another voice that was silenced the same day, C. S. Lewis.
“I was not born free,” insisted Lewis, the Oxford don and Christian apologist. “I was born to obey and adore.” Much as Washington, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Rev. Seawell might bridle at this idea, countless God-fearing Americans including Frontier’s Bedford would cheerfully assent. None of us is self-made or self-sufficient. Yet many of us forget it’s so. Only those who remember are fit for freedom. Thanksgiving Day is about the remembering.
Indeed at our house, as mentioned earlier, we try to make this a gratitude season, Thanksgiving month. Some of the markers are communal, others are personal. Some are celebratory and others somber. Day by day, regardless, it’s possible to say with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural – quoting the Psalms, after four years of war and only days before his own death – “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” During this present November, for example, only the ingrate could fail to lift up thanks on the 3rd for our voting rights, on the 9th for our Berlin Wall victory, and on the 11th for our brave veterans. Even in mourning the jihadist massacre at Fort Hood on the 5th, we had occasion to be thankful for our country’s compassion to victims, its justice to evildoers, its resilience in adversity. My family rejoiced in birthdays for a grandson on the 13th and a daughter on the 18th. What have been your family’s gratitude moments this month?
It was also on Nov. 22 back in 1858, notes historian Tom Noel, that our pioneer forebears organized Denver as a city. Achieving statehood 18 years later, they took the motto Nil Sine Numine, “Nothing without the Spirit.” It’s inscribed on the chairs, the stairs, and even the doorknobs in our State Capitol, reminding all who enter there to reverence higher authority. May we as Coloradans be not forgetful but mindful on Thanksgiving Day 2009.