I love this land.
I love this people.
I love our flag.
I love the ideals of the people who created this nation.
I love our Declaration of Independence.
I love our Constitution.
I love George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln.
I love the Gettysburg Address.
I love free market capitalism.
I love representative democracy.
I love liberty.
I love American justice. I am so grateful for equal and fair justice.
I love the freedom to believe and to worship.
I love the freedom to publish and to petition.
I love the freedom to learn and to teach.
I love the freedom to search and to click.
I love the freedom to defend my property and to fend for myself.
I love the freedom to do and to be what the Creator deigns for me to do and to be.
So why is it that I keep weeping when my congregation stands and sings, “America, America, God shed His grace on Thee.”
Why is it that warm tears welled up in my eyes when I watched again the 1984 recording of the blind artist Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful?” as a party re-nominated their president?
Why did I get a lump in my throat as I listened to my niece and her sisters in the American Heritage Girls lead the Pledge of Allegiance at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony? The Veterans stood and proudly saluted Old Glory as she waved in the country breezes. But I was tentative.
Why is It that now in addition to admiration and awe of America’s great battlefield victories—a profound sense of impending loss now troubles my soul? As I watched the news reels and reflected on D-Day this year I was so proud and I was so worried.
What’s with me? Why am I so apprehensive? What is wrong with me? Have you felt that way too?
The roads and bridges we have engineered have never been more substantial. The skyscrapers and stadiums, the houses and buildings we have built have never been more impressive. The technology and conveniences we have available have never been more fascinating or more accessible. The weapons and intelligence assets of our government have never been more precise or pervasive.
But something’s not right.
Moral clarity has given way to obstinate uncertainty.
“We hold these truths” has become “We’re absolutely sure that no one can be absolutely sure” We are without chart and compass. We are adrift. And we mock anyone who dares to declare, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Moral heroism has been replaced by deviant cowardice.
General Washington’s “Victory or death” has become “hell no, we won’t go.” I marvel at the inordinate attention we give to the stars of pop culture and the short shrift to those who have taken the road less traveled.
And, Moral courage has been supplanted by godless exhibitionism.
One man has defined "moral courage" as "the ability to take action and show integrity in the face of personal harm, danger, for a greater cause despite the risk of adverse consequences."
It’s not moral courage that inspires sinners to wave the rainbow flag on the steps of our Supreme Court. But it was moral courage that hoisted the stars and stripes over Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, that planted old glory at Iwo Jima and on the beaches of Normandy, and that dared to defend this fundamental truth: “Right makes might!”
We tell ourselves that since we have thrown off the restraints of virtue and morality, our nation, our people, and we ourselves have never had more freedom. But experience, as C. S. Lewis observed, is such an honest thing! Liberty without law is proving unfulfilling, undesirable, and physically, spiritually, and fiscally unsustainable.
Oz Guinness is right. Freedom, Virtue, and Faith are all three essential to secure and preserve liberty. As America's faith in the God of our Fathers diminishes our virtue dissipates. As virtue disappears, our freedom devolves from divine right into anthropocentric privilege--the ground from which despots and tyrants have tortured their subjects throughout history.
Our Declaration of Independence begins, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.” In too many quarters America is losing her grip.