I will admit that I never paid much attention to the National Day of Prayer. Maybe I was too busy. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Or maybe I just didn’t think this country needed it. I thought we were a country of God fearing people who prayed on our own, regardless of who that God was in our belief system.
I have changed. I am now paying attention. There are many reasons why.
It started with the whole movement on the part of athiests to ban religion wherever they could. First, it was about making Christmas a sectarian holiday that was about presents, spending money, and parties instead of Christ. While I don’t expect everyone to celebrate Christmas like I do, I also don’t expect to have to curtail MY celebration because some weak minded athiest gets offended when he sees a Christmas tree or manger. If he truly believes there is no God, then why does he care if a nativity scene is on the front lawn of the town community center? Shouldn’t he just shake his head and move on? Does this same atheist get offended when he sees ancient Native American religious symbols displayed in public parks? Does he feel that he is being compelled to believe in a Native American god ? No, because that’s not really the point. The point is to eliminate Christianity from the American landscape, period, through the strategy of the victimization of the minority.
I have many friends who are of different religions. They don’t really care if there are Christian symbols of Christmas displayed during Christmas. They don’t believe that our right to celebrate infringes on their religious freedom. They don’t spend their life looking to be offended. Why? Because they know their beliefs, that they are free to practice them, and that a symbol on the lawn of the town hall doesn’t impact that.
Then, it was about taking the Ten Commandments out of the halls of different courts in the land, banning non-denominational prayer at public meetings, high school football games and graduations. It even went so far as to remove the thirty second of meditation at the beginning of the school day. Ridiculous and all done in the name of not offending non-believers. ( Explain to me, please, how having a minute to gather one’s thoughts at the beginning of the day can offend anyone?)
It’s all done in the name of “separation of Church and State” ( something that is NOT in the Constituion, by the way.) However, that separation does not imply eradication of religion from the public view. The founders believed in freedom of religion, not freedom from it. Denying the existence and influence of religion in the founding of this country does not change the truth that our forefathers were Christian, God fearing men. Praying to one’s God does not mean that anyone who believes otherwise is not entitled to pray or not pray to what they believe in.
Now, it has progressed to borderline persecution of anyone who professes faith in any manner. It’s become forcing religious institutions and people to deny their beliefs in favor of what the government deems appropriate. (That is unless, of course, you are among the favored religion, Islam. In that case, the government will tip toe around your beliefs and leave you alone. ) A sad example is the move by the Pentagon to prosecute any military personnel who voice their religious beliefs in public. I’m sorry, but when did joining the military mean that you lost your first ammendment rights?
My father was career military. To say he loved his service is an understatement. He would have stayed in until he died if the age restriction hadn’t been in place. He was not an outwardly religious man by any stretch of the imagination. He went to church on Sunday, believed in God, and raised us in a Christian manner with strong Christian morals. But, when he was in World War II, he carried Catholic medals with him. He prayed. He probably went to Catholic services run by a military chaplain. Nowadays, I guess he would be prosecuted by the Pentagon for professing his faith in public.
So, what is the point of all this? I think there are several points. First, I think there is an element in this country that wants to eliminate religion. Completely. Why? Because if there is no religious belief, then who do you believe in? What’s big enough and strong enough for people to believe in if there is no God? Hmmmm….would that be the all benevolent, all caring Government? That’s right. Let’s believe in a man made entity. Right. Because mankind unchecked is such a good thing. Political systems such as Communism depend on their subjects NOT believing in anything BUT the all powerful government.
Also, it just makes things so much easier if there is no religion. I mean, all this stuff about morals and convictions just gets in the way of doing whatever we want, whenever we want. Isn’t that what the crowd from the sixties wanted? “Whatever floats your boat, man.” Without religion, we can do pretty much anything we want. How wonderful for those who have no morals.
There are those who say organized religion has been the cause of human conflict for too long. My counterpoint to that is that if there has been violence due to religious beliefs it has been because MAN has been in charge of that conflict. No matter what humans do, whether it’s believe in a religion, a doctrine, or even a sports team, they have the capacity to get violent because of it. The flip side of that is that religious beliefs have led men to great acts of kindness, generosity, and sacrifice for their fellow man. I would say the latter far outweighs the former.
So, where do we go from here? How do we stop this public juggernaut that seems to be rolling along at break neck speed? I know what I will do. I will continue to believe, pray, and stand up for others to do the same. I’ll do this because I believe a country with no religious beliefs, no matter how diverse, is a country that stands for nothing.
There’s an old saying. ” If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” We need to stand for something. Moral relativism doesn’t work. It never has.