"Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, and this be our motto --
In God is our trust." -- Francis Scott Key, 1814
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THIS WEEK'S EDITORIAL COMMENT: Tomorrow, May 5, is the
National Day of Prayer. This year's theme is: "A Mighty Fortress is Our
God." This writer well remembers how this observance came to be. It was
in January and February, 1952, while holding a crusade in Washington, D.C,
that Billy Graham proposed that a National Day of Prayer be established.
Several Christian members of the House and Senate introduced such a
resolution, which was passed, and signed into law by President Truman on
April 17, 1952, including the requirement that the president should issue an
annual proclamation of the event. In 1988, under President Reagan, the law
was amended to make the first Thursday in May the date for the National
Day of Prayer. So tomorrow, let us set aside some time -- individually or in
groups -- to pray for America, for our leaders, for the Christian Church and
for our fellow Christians all over the world, many of whom are subject to
persecution for their faith. And let this day of prayer be part of our continuing
count-down to Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012 -- there are now 552 days to
pray for God's guidance as we vote to reclaim America as the nation our
Founding Fathers intended it to be.
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JUST LAST WEEK THE COVERAGE OF CURRENT EVENTS
ALMOST DEFLECTED ATTENTION FROM THE TRUE
MEANING OF EASTER; THIS WEEK THE NEWS OF
THE WORLD IS EQUALLY DISTRACTING
At Easter we were still absorbing the effects of the devastating earthquakes
and tsunami which forever changed life in Japan . . . we were hearing of the
large number of American military personnel killed in April in Afghanistan,
and were confronted with our legally undeclared "war" in Libya, and our
ignoring of the killing of civilians by the Syrian president, whom our leaders
consider a "reformer." The very onslaught on our senses by the news of the
day served to detract from the meaning of Easter. And, of course, the
president's failure to make any proclamation of Easter further seemed to
diminish the significance of this important Christian observance.
But those distraction were but a shadow of things to come! The days
following Easter have been even more filled with happenings to focus our
attention on matters outside the Christian season of Eastertide. In the church
calendar, Eastertide is that period of rejoicing beginning with Resurrection
Sunday, continuing through the 40 days in which Jesus walked this Earth
prior to His ascension to be with the Father, and continuing to the 50th day,
or Pentecost, that so important observance when the Holy Spirit was given,
and the Christian Church was born.
How to cope with the very prominent demands on our attention such as the
tornadoes which have just ravaged many of the American southern states,
leaving an aftermath of destruction and death in so many communities . . .
and the world-wide obssession with the wedding of two prominent young
people in England who had been living in adultery, but with Prince William
a potential heir to the British throne, their marriage became necessary. An
estimated two billion viewers all over the world watched as the highest
placed ministers of the Church of England blessed and solemnized the
nuptials, with the prince's father, who maintaind an long-time adulterous
affair, seated in a prominent position with his former mistress by his side.
And then, nicely timed so as not to have its impact lessened by coverage of
the royal wedding and with his lagging approval ratings needing a boost for
his re-election campaign, came the announcement by President Obama that
a long planned operation to murder Osama bin Laden had succeeded -- and
the nation exploded into rejoicing, and any thought of "Christ is risen" was
replaced with "Osama is dead." It isn't that his part in planning 9/11 didn't
deserve punishment, and his being brought to justice, but it does seem a bit
out of place for a nation established on Christian principles to rejoice in his
murder. We seem to forget so quickly the words of Jesus in Matthew 5
where He instructed us how to deal with our enemies. How to relate His
teaching to dealing with terrorists in today's world is difficult for us to judge.
Saddam Hussein was also a terrorist who killed more people than bin Laden.
He was captured, brought to justice, tried and found guilty in an Iraqi court,
and executed by his own people. Osama bin Laden was also brought to
justice, but at the point of a gun, killed by American military operating on
foreign soil. But it is done, and there is one less evil leader in the world,
and that is good. However, the question remains before us: Is boisterous
celebrating in the streets the appropriate response? It's worth a thought.
Among all the viewpoints being headlined in the Main Line Media,
here are three from opinion makers who separate fact from fiction in their
summaries. First from Jim Talent, distinguished fellow at the Heritage
Foundation, and former U.S. Senator: "Four men and one woman lay
dead—among them, Osama bin Laden. The operation, which was
planned for months, came after years of searching and intelligence
gathering...but the terrorist threat still remains, along with continued
operations in Afghanistan and Iraq...But despite those conflicts — and
a new one in Libya—President Barack Obama has called for $400
billion in cuts to our already overstretched military, undermining its
constitutional role of protecting America...The Navy has fewer ships
than at any time since 1916. The Air Force inventory is smaller and
older than at any time since the service came into being in 1947. The
Army has missed several generations of modernization, and many of
its soldiers are on their fourth or fifth tour of duty in Iraq or
Afghanistan ...many vital programs, such as missile defense, have been
cut; and in the past two years, no fewer than 50 modernization
programs have been ended."
And the second from Skip MacLure, commenting in Conservative
Outpost: "This is great news, for a number of very good reasons. The
Blighted One will probably try and take credit for the manhunt that
was initiated by Obama’s much-maligned predecessor, George Bush.
The truth is...that this is the culmination of a manhunt that began on
September 11, 2001... It is very much like Obama to take credit for
other people’s work… and ideas."
And finally, from Erick Erickson, in "Red State" morning briefing:
"I fear the death of bin Laden will give Obama the impetus to do what
he has long wanted but lacked the guts to do: wind down the war
against al Qaeda, close Guantanamo, and release most of the prisoners
we hold at Guantanamo under the guise of 'releasing prisoners of war.'
If the killing of bin Laden results in the administration declaring our
job is done then bin Laden will have done more for al Qaeda in death
than he ever accomplished in life."
But regardless of those distractions, we are still in Eastertide, and
our rejoicing in the truth of the risen Christ as our assurance of eternal life, is
still our blessed hope. As we quoted Pope John Paul II just two issues ago:
"We are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song."
There are times when Mr. Obama seems delusionary. In his televised
speech announcing the killing of bin Laden, he again stated that the United
States is not at war with Muslims. Osama bin Laden was a Muslim, and Mr.
Obama's military buried him at sea in accordance with Islamic protocols.
The men who carried out the attacks on 9/11 were Muslims. The people
we are at war with in Afghanistan are Muslims -- as were those whom we
were fighting during our war in Iraq. In our officially undeclared "war" in
Libya, President Qadaffi and his government are Muslims. The potential
ultimate enemy in the Middle East, Iran, is Muslim. And all over the world,
the most vicious attacks and persecutions of Christians have been by the
so-called "peace loving" Muslims.The old rhetorical dichotomy still applies:
It may be true that all Muslims are not terrorists -- but it is also true that all
terrorists have been Muslims.
An important anniversary: In connection with the observance this week of
the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Jason Georges speaks of it as
"a guidebook of nations, one that has already seen the United States of
America through every single crisis of its existence. In every war, every
civil disturbance, every fiscal emergency, the King James Bible has been
'the rock upon which our republic rests.'" The King James Bible was the
first English Bible to be printed in the United States, and in the bill which
recognizes the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James
Version, introduced on April 12th in the U.S. House of Representatives, the
King James Bible is referred to as the most widely printed and distributed
work in history.
Concerning the release of "the birth certificate" . . . Jeffrey Shapiro,
writing in the Washington Times, provided this brief summary of the surprise
announcement: "Many Americans were shocked yesterday when President
Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate from the state of
Hawaii. The real surprise, however, is that for the past three years, our
democratic institutions did not address the matter. The media refused to
tackle this issue ... the courts declined to hear a single case on the issue;
and Congress failed to hold any hearings on the matter. Perhaps the
saddest part of this story is its ending. Mr. Obama did not release the
birth certificate because the media pressured him or because the courts
actually listened to one of the many cases that were filed. He released it
because an obsessed billionaire threatened his electability in 2012." We
coudn't have said it better.
The Obama doctrine of "Leading from behind"outlined by Ryan Lizza.
Ryan Lizza is the Washington correspondent for the New Yorker magazine,
and in the current (May 2) issue, has an intriguing article on Obama's foreign
policy. So intriguing, in fact, that two nationally syndicated columnists, Michael
Barone and Charles Krauthammer have commented on it in their columns this
week. Mr. Lizza traces the development of Mr. Obama's foreign policy
philosophy in these words: "Obama didn't think much about foreign policy
during his years as a community organizer and Illinois state senator...As
it became clear that he was going to be elected to the U.S. Senate, he
started reading and seeking out foreign policy experts of varying views."
Lizza also quotes an Obama advisor's description of that policy: "One of his
advisers described the president's actions in Libya as 'leading from
behind.'" Krauthammer picked up on that analysis using these words,
"Leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine... Lizza's painstaking
two year chronicle shows it to be as ad hoc, erratic and confused as it
appears to be." And Barone makes note of Lizza's summation of that policy:
"It's a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and
it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S.
is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many
parts of the world."