On September 11, 2001, I sat proctoring a test in a local junior high school, when a fellow teacher stepped into the room. There to relieve me, he said, “Get to a television.” I hurried down the hallway and stepped into the teacher’s lounge. An aide stood in front of the television, transfixed. I peeked over her shoulder in time to see the second plane plow into the World Trade Center. For the next several minutes, I watched as throngs of people sprinted from the towers. And then both buildings crumpled, leaving a smoldering pile of rubble.
For the rest of the day, the world’s eyes were glued to the television, attempting to process the information coming in. By the end of the day, four hijacked planes delivered death and destruction, killing almost 3000 innocent people. In one coordinated act of cowardice, radical jihadists stole America’s peace of mind and sense of invincibility. How would America respond?
Later that day, something happened on Capitol Hill no one expected. After Congressman Hastert addressed the nation, pledging to hold accountable those responsible for terrorism on our shores, the Congress formed an impromptu choir, gathering in a show of solidarity singing “God Bless America.”
Yes….”God Bless America.”
For the next few weeks, churches experienced a major uptick in attendance. People scrambled to seek answers to combat fears of future attacks. It’s true…there are no atheists in foxholes. Sadly, the singing of “God Bless America” and the new interest in clinging to God faded as the United States settled back into the old and familiar routine of life pre-terrorist attack. When the Congress linked arms and sang a song beseeching the Creator to bless our Country, for a fleeting a moment I wondered,
“Could this be the beginning of a much needed Spiritual Awakening?”
A few short years later, the Democratic National Convention delegates booed when asked to insert the mention of God and Israel into the Democratic Platform.
Yes. They. Booed. God.
Obviously, the memory of terrorists killing a few thousand Americans was dimmed by a new push to eradicate God entirely from the public arena.
Fast forward to 2015. It appears those opposed to anything holy and righteous have stepped on the accelerator, speeding up America’s trip to “hell in a hand basket.” In the last few months, the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds in legalizing gay marriage, Christians face the targeted efforts of homosexuals demanding everyone honor their unions, and a investigative journalist organization has video evidence that Planned Parenthood harvests organs of aborted babies, including those born alive. A couple of decades ago, America surpassed all other world powers leading as Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.” Today, it’s a sprint to the bottom to surpass the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah.
And now, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis sits in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Her professed faith in Christ and belief in the teachings of the Bible dictates her decision. Obviously, an activist judge wrongly believes the Supreme Court can create laws and finds an opportunity to teach all “bitter clingers” in America a lesson. It’s becoming apparent the gay agenda isn’t about equality but about forcing everyone to embrace the “alternative” lifestyle.
Unless another horrific calamity strikes America, I don’t anticipate Congress singing “God Bless America” any time soon. In fact, I’m not even sure we have that right. We should encourage the President to utilize his “pen and phone” to change the lyrics to “God Spare America.” That seems more apropos.
My favorite President, hands-down, is Ronald Reagan. I remember 52 American hostages marching from a compound, released from an Iranian prison minutes after President Reagan was sworn into office. I swelled with pride.
I remember Ronald Reagan standing at the base of the Brandenburg Gate, near the Berlin Wall delivering a hopeful speech to the people of West Berlin:
“In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: ‘We will bury you.’ But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind–too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.
And then the line known to the entire civilized world:
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Two years later, the people of a freed East Berlin tore down that wall.
Reagan’s determination and drive to see Communism topple, reminded all of the President’s desire for America to be a “shining city on a hill.” I swelled with pride.
For two terms, the “Gipper’s” speeches never failed to invoke America’s greatness. Due to the lackluster and feckless Presidency of Jimmy Carter, Reagan ushered in a new era of hope and Patriotism.
Yes, I miss the Reagan years.
Fast forward to 2001.
Though many bash George W. Bush, I appreciated his leadership in the first few hours and days after 9/11. (I shudder to think the outcome had America been under the leadership of Al Gore.) The President visited Ground Zero to thank the emergency personnel working to find people buried in the rubble of the Twin Towers. At one point, he climbed atop the remains of a crumpled fire truck and spoke to the firefighters. Someone shouted, “I can’t hear you.” The President grabbed a bullhorn and said,
“I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked down these buildings are going to hear from all of us soon.”
My heart broke the day jihadists turned planes into torpedoes, but something about a Texan living in the White House brought hope that America wouldn’t cower to evil, but would take the fight to our enemies’ homeland. And that’s what happened. I swelled with pride.
Since 2008, I can’t think of many reasons to be proud of our Country’s leadership. Sure, Americans elected the first African American to the highest office in the Land…but that “accomplishment” rested solely in the hands of the voters. From personal conversations, I have discovered many voted for Barack Obama, not because of his political experience, but because of his skin tone. Some who had never voted for a Democrat previously, jumped on the “Let’s make American History” bandwagon. But since his election and re-election, has the President accomplished anything of merit?
In 2009, the President boasted that his Stimulus bill would create “shovel ready” jobs. What happened? Nothing. While meeting with the Jobs and Competiveness Council in Durham, NC, the President chuckled as he announced,
“Shovel-ready was not as shovel ready as we expected.”
In fact, not only has job creation been stagnant, but millions have been added to the rolls of government assistance. This certainly doesn’t instill pride.
Our status in the eyes of the world has diminished as well. Israel wonders if we are truly an ally. We allow Russia to run roughshod over the Ukraine. ISIS rampages across the Middle East, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction and bloodshed. Our deal with the Iranians prompted celebrations in Iran. (If Iran thinks they received a good deal, doesn’t that insure America didn’t?)
And on the American home front? This Administration has cranked up race relations rhetoric, throwing fuel on the smoldering cities of Ferguson and Baltimore. Now, Black Lives Matter and Louis Farakhan have challenged African Americans to wage a war on white people and our law enforcement officers. What does our President do? Snaps selfies by a glacier to propagate his climate change agenda. Not much to be proud of there either.
And then there’s our President’s misguided view of heroes. In my eyes, military personnel deserve our respect and gratitude. Also, those who put on a uniform to keep us safe on our city streets. Mr. Obama seldom honors men and women willing to lay down their lives for the American people, but rushes to congratulate a homosexual who decides to openly play on a professional sports team. It’s hard to show pride in that.
Lastly, a freedom I never dreamed vulnerable is currently battling a national agenda to normalize the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender Lifestyle. Pilgrims risked life and limb to come to shores of America to insure their freedom to worship how they pleased, when they pleased. Today, their sacrifice seems almost futile as the Leftist agenda strives to relegate religious practice to the Church building. However, nowhere does the Constitution demand we compromise our religious convictions once we leave the shadow of the Church steeple. It’s impossible to take pride in diminished religious liberty.
I still love America, but maybe my adoration stems from memories past instead of a hopeful present and an anticipated bright future. I pray our generation rises to claim this Country for God and that He rescues her from teetering on the precipice of destruction. If we fail to turn, I tremble at the thought of America’s demise. I hope our kids aren’t the first generation to dwell in the largest third world country in the world.
Come quickly Lord Jesus.
This morning as I scrolled Facebook, I clicked on a YouTube video, posted by a friend, of the Gaither Vocal Band. The group delivered a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. Their tight harmonies accompanied a moving patriotic video. As I watched, I swallowed back a lump gathering in my throat. Then tears welled in my eyes and soon dampened my cheeks. Yes, I’m an emotional guy, and yes, occasionally a beautifully sung song (or a “Little House” episode) moves me to tears, but neither was the reason this morning.
This morning I cried for America.
I remember the Presidencies of Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Under these men (even Clinton), I felt more secure in America’s future than I do now. On 9/11, I watched in horror as planes torpedoed into the World Trade Center, but not once did I doubt America’s ability to rebuild and to stand resolute. I remember watching proudly as George W. Bush stood on a mound of rubble proclaiming,
“I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
Now, our Country’s too busy drawing and re-drawing red lines. Honestly, I don’t know how this current Administration would respond to another mass attack. Would they offer the terrorists jobs? Or hugs? Label the event as workplace violence? Or would they hold a press conference to warn Americans to refrain from calling this Islamic terrorism? Granted, this is sarcastic in nature, but how many of us really trust the current leadership in Washington to do what’s best for America?
American Enterprise Institute published a public opinion report evaluating Americans’ level of patriotism. One of the most astounding and disappointing results was the following:
Americans aren’t as proud of their country as some citizens in other countries are of their own nations. According to a World Values Survey, 98 percent of citizens in Qatar claimed to be “very proud” of their nationality. However, only 56 percent of Americans responded positively in this category.
Qatar? Are you kidding me? In Qatar, only Muslims can express their religion publicly, all others must conduct worship services in private homes. Those leaving the Muslim faith face imprisonment or death. And yet, 98% of those living in Qatar are proud of their country….How can this be?
Everyday we read of new crippling policies, court judgments, or another round of decisions being written into law by an overreaching “pen and phone.” The Church sits on the precipice of being made obsolete as the government now attempts to shoulder the responsibility of dictating what is and isn’t sinful. And now innoucuous entertainment is banned because of a flag that Liberals find offensive. Many Conservative people are cowering in the shadows, fearful of offending the PC police or being investigated by rogue government agencies. I wish the above was hyperbole, but that’s the America we currently reside in.
That’s why I cried.
I’m not weeping for myself, but for my family, especially my kids. Unless America rights this ship and charts a new course, what will our future generations face? If we’re not careful, in a few decades, America will be nothing more than a footnote in the pages of history. The Founding Fathers sacrificed too much for this to be our Country’s outcome. Too many brave men and women have paid the ultimate price on the world’s battlefields for us to surrender our freedoms to ideologies intent on destroying American exceptionalism.
At times I feel like Elijah. After a God-given victory against the prophets of Baal, he fled from another enemy…the Queen. He moaned that no one else was standing for God. He thought himself to be all alone. He suffered from a
“nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m just going to go eat worms”
mentality. God reminded Elijah that there were 7,000 others who had yet to bow their knees to false gods. Occasionally, the filthy haze of America’s ills conceals the possibility of the United States rising from the ashes to greatness again. That’s not an impossibility. But for that to happen, America must turn wholeheartedly to God and remember the encouraging words of President Ronald Reagan,
“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.”
Keep standing Patriots, and may God once again bless the United States of America.
Over the Christmas break, I read an interesting tidbit from early American History. I discovered that William Blount, a North Carolina Representative and invitee to the Constitutional Convention, showed up almost 6 weeks late to the Convention because hemorrhoids and horseback riding don’t go well together. It’s almost humorous that hemorrhoids almost prevented this man from missing the most important convention in American history. Imagine the ribbing Blount endured from the Founders when he finally showed up. Had Blount comprehended the gravity of the meeting, surely he would’ve hired a driver and reclined in the back of a buggy. Participating in a meeting of this magnitude was literally history in the making. Yet, itching and rectal pain hampered his travel plans.
I think I would’ve done whatever it took to get to the Convention. Freedom matters that much.
I think back to the 2012 Presidential election. Under no circumstances should President Obama have won a second term. All the warning signs pointed to a continued downward spiral into the abyss of hellish Liberalism, but instead of Evangelicals flooding the voting precincts, they chose to stay home instead of voting for a “Rhino” Mormon. I’m still uncertain as to which designation hindered Mr. Romney more.
I unapologetically voted for Mitt Romney. I didn’t agree with his every view, but I never questioned his desire for America to thrive and to resume its righful place as a “city on a hill.” I hope those who chose not to vote feel ashamed.
In 2016, an election of great importance once again presents itself. Yes, America needs a Conservative restoration, but it won’t happen immediately. This means casting a ballot for a “Rhino” in 2016 might be necessary to counter the Democrat bid to elect Hillary Clinton or an even more leftist nomination of Elizabeth Warren. Conservatives, be willing to take baby steps. Band together to defeat Liberalism then form a cooperative alliance to vote in an even more Conservative individual in the next general election. Hold the Senate and House accountable and in a few short years, we might see a “Reaganesque” America once again.
I know this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some, but unfortunately we must occasionally swallow our pride and vote for the lesser of two evils. America’s teetering under the oppressive weight of an Administration hell-bent on destroying her. Another 4 – 8 years of Clinton or Obama on steroids (Elizabeth Warren) might be the Country’s death knell.
In 2016, I’ll be voting against Liberalism, hopefully for a wonderful, Conservative candidate. But no matter what, I will cast a ballot to thwart the Left’s efforts. I’ll vote no matter what.
Not even hemorrhoids will keep me home.
America reminds me of the Prodigal Son.
Remember the story Jesus shared about the way ward child? The younger of two sons decided he needed a change of scenery and an early escape from the rules and regulations of his father’s household. After receiving his portion of the inheritance early, the young son high-tailed it out of town to chase his wanton desires. Long story short, things spiraled out of control quickly. He frivolously spent his money on wild living and he ended up destitute, craving the food of swine.
Today, America’s the Prodigal.
Founding Father John Adams said,
“Our constitution is only fit for a moral and religious people. It is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other kind.”
The Constitution of the United States guaranteed people of all faiths the right to come to our shores and worship according to their own conscious. Their forefathers fled to the New World to be free from having any particular religion forced upon them. Not wanting to revert to the customs of the Old Country, the Founders promised the American people the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” including the rights of the citizens to worship according to the dictates of their heart. Sadly, much has changed in two centuries.
Our Country, once inclined to the Word of God, now flounders as atheists, radical environmentalists and homosexual activists control the conversation. Christians, once courageous, now sit idly by fearing the label of intolerance for Biblical stances taken. Our Country, the Prodigal, has turned a deaf ear to the Father and now squanders away its wealth in riotous living. Certainly in the parable, the young man’s choice of “loose living” implies a plethora of moral indiscretions. America rivals the transgressions of the younger son in similar fashion. But how? What sin do we sanction as a nation?
Abortion, a legal holocaust plagues our nation. The innocent blood of over 50 million babies rests squarely on our hands. Homosexual activists demand benefits and the same rights as the traditionally married. Instead of standing strong against the immoral agenda, announcements of states caving to vocal minorities dominate the headlines. Our government insists the globe faces an environmental crisis perpetuated by men and cattle. When leaders address the nation and sign-off with “and God bless the United States of America,” it’s nothing more than an effort to assuage the minds of those who “cling bitterly to their guns and religion.”
And we expect God to bless America?
I hate to admit it, but maybe the President was right when he said,
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.”
When the President chose to deliver these remarks, several Conservative Christians were up in arms. Hold the outrage for a moment, he’s right. Some who study church trends claim only about 20% of those claiming Christianity actively participate in the life of a local church. Church doesn’t save anyone, but church attendance is a good indicator that a person has truly accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. With dismal numbers like this, no wonder we see the Hollywood elite controlling the moral talking points and the Church’s influence dwindling.
George Washington once said,
“The propitious smile of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself hath ordained.”
For the time being, our nation ignores God and speeds down the road of “loose living” failing to realize the slop that lies ahead. Thankfully, the Father waits patiently for us to return. In the story of the Prodigal, Jesus shares the young man “came to his senses” after hitting rock bottom. Now that the Country’s wallowing around with the swine, hopefully we corporately come to our senses and once again seek the God who established,
“America as a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere. ” Ronald Reagan
The first President to exercise measurable impact on my life was Ronald Reagan. American elected Reagan when I was 9 years old and he served through my senior year in High School. Now at 42, I still consider him as my favorite President and today I want to share some of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
“If we ever forget we are ‘One Nation Under God,’ then we will be a nation gone under.”
“Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty”
“Man is not free unless government is limited.”
“There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”
“I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the United States Congress.”
“Without God, democracy will not an cannot long endure.”
“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all problems men face.”
“Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”
I miss him. How about you?
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