Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- God: Our Founding Father

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

It was Presidents’ Day 2001. My wife and I had planned a trip to Colonial Williamsburg over the holiday weekend. Instead of a wake up call at the Williamsburg Inn, I was awakened instead by an orderly in a Richmond, Va., hospital prepping me for open-heart surgery. My worst fear was less than 60 minutes away.

In 1976, my 53-year-old Dad was stricken with a fatal heart attack. I lost my best friend.

In 1996 at age 53, my older brother suffered a severe heart attack. He survived. Now, also age 53, I was facing my own serious cardiac issue. Doctors had informed me that my aorta was 90 percent blocked. Without immediate surgery, I would soon be dead.

Following the unexpected loss of my father, I had made a conscious decision to do everything possible to avoid his fate and that of my brother. I began a diet and exercise regimen and strictly adhered to it. The thought of a surgeon breaking open my chest to get at my heart was all the motivation I needed to stay the course. But, as with most things we fear, we’re often called to face them, ready or not.

Like most people of faith, I pray daily. Yet in 2001, I felt I was walking through the “valley of the shadow of death.” I could either “choose” to be terrified by the impending event or accept with peace and comfort His presence, and confidence in any outcome.

A strong faith in God was the primary building block the original colonists brought with them to settle America. These brave souls were uncertain what awaited them when they boarded those small, dank and creaky wooden vessels. All that separated these soon-to-be expatriates from their religious persecution and the freedom to worship as they pleased was a perilous journey fraught with anxiety that could only be tempered by a devout faith in God. He was the fulcrum of their existence and that of the nation that soon would evolve.

America has preserved freedom for over 230 years. We have a mighty army with extraordinary military intelligence-gathering capabilities and a national security infrastructure that is second to none.

However, powerful armies alone cannot keep a country safe or free. History is replete with examples of nations with military might who replaced God as the societal epicenter with a totalitarian government that dictates all aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life. Nazism, communism and fascism are three disastrous examples from the 20th Century. Will America follow a similar path? Some would suggest we’re well on our way.

The secular left seems hell- bent on driving God out of the nation’s public square. When average Americans find themselves having to battle their own government and courts to preserve God in the classroom, our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance and to maintain the words “In God we trust” on our currency, something is dreadfully wrong.

The very documents that bestow upon us our individual freedoms and liberties such as the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution are looked upon by many of the liberal elite as artifacts from another time, with little relevance to an enlightened society. They feel God is a character in a mostly fictitious book that was used to help hold ignorant societies together in more primitive times. They deny how our nation grew to become the most powerful on earth. To contradict it happened without societal values and norms adopted by a Judeo-Christian culture, is to refute any semblance of rationale while ignoring historical reality.

What makes America different from other countries on earth is her resilience as a nation. We’re often stretched and bent by man-made and natural disasters but possess a remarkable ability to recover. When faced with peril and tumult that goes beyond human understanding, America drops to her knees first; not in submission to any event or adversary, but to pray to God for guidance, assurance and for the fortitude to sustain us.

In spite of God’s sustenance the instant gratification of the secular world is slowly eroding the foundations of our culture. It’s almost as if we’ve been there and done that, so it’s time to move on to bigger and better tomorrows. A society that has no place to turn but inward in times of trial and tribulation is doomed to fall victim to its own “success.”

To many, our nation appears in danger of losing its soul. I am one of them. Turning our backs on the very source of our existence by relying on man over God will not work. Fear will ultimately consume us as we move further and further away from the only true source of our sustenance.

As the operating room doors pushed open on the day of my surgery, I remember my sister-in-law telling me I had nothing to fear. One way or the other I would wake up; in the recovery room or in the arms of God. It’s that unconditional faith that has sustained me to this day; the same faith that has sustained our nation for 233 years. God has richly blessed America. May we never turn our back on Him.

I am always more comfortable around people who are Christians. And I believe with all my soul there is a God.

However organized religion has driven me out of a church. Until last year during the election campaign, I attended a church regularly that was the least sanctimonious I could find. Yet even there I had people come up to me and tell me how Mormons were evil and not fit to live. Even our pastor once preached a sermon explaining why Mormons were not Christians. I attended the Mormon Church for a while and my best friend is a Mormon, but telling anyone in the church I was attending why I thought this a sound basis for having some right to an opinion, did not get them to listen when I tried to politely disagree with them. I was simply reviled for being too stupid to understand why God had banned these Mormons from his grace. Even after they provided much of the funding to stop same sex marriage in California. Attacks against them were ignored by the same people who counted on them during the campaign. That is unfortunately typical of those who attend organized churches. They don't want to hear anything that conflicts with their self righteous opinions though they will pretend to when it suits them.

I sometimes try to understand what difference there is between the Atheist’s assumption that he knows better than I and that I have to adhere to his rules for when I can express my feelings about God, and the Christian's assumption that is essentially the same. Bob is not like that. He is a good man who will listen with an open mind. I can see his concern for rejecting God from our lives and agree that the people who want to do that hate much else about our nation that is good. I cannot accept their views. I believe with all my soul that there is a God and that our Constitution requires that everyone’s right to religious freedom, and that includes the right to publicly express that freedom, MUST be protected.

So why am I, like so many Independents who have left the Republican Party over this issue, as scared of Christian arrogance as I am scared of Atheist arrogance? Are we just idiots? Or have Christians earned our distrust?


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