A letter to the editor of my local newspaper caught my eye recently. The writer was in full battle armor and used everything in his arsenal to wage his own war on three words in our English language. Three words! Actually, the campaign was directed against where those three words are being uttered or painted. Let me be sure to get this straight now--we can't use these words in a song and call it a "patriotic" song. We certainly can't post these words in front of a public school either. What three words, you ask? First let me warn you, if there are any little ones reading over your shoulder, or if you are afraid that you might be offended yourself, this is your cue to read no farther!
God Bless America--there they are. Those are the awful, offending words that turn a patriotic song into a "religious" song and should not be tolerated if posted in front of a public school, according to this "religion policeman."
His fight was with the concept of God and anyone who would mention that maybe God might actually exist. He lumped Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell together as leaders of a "mouth-agape rabble" held spellbound by these gentlemen's "harangues." The writer then expressed the concept of God as a "preposterous postulation of which there is not the vaguest belly-buttom lint of evidence for support." All this, in defense of his self-imposed "free thinker" label, and was said to set up for the bombshell he really wanted to drop: "Your merciful god was either out to lunch or fell asleep at the switch on September 11."
I have never been one to get into an argument about the existence of God with anyone. To me, that would be as fruitless as trying to convince a blind person who had never seen that the color blue is more pleasing to the eye than the color purple. To me, believing in a higher power is like knowing that water is wet. And I am a free thinker, inasmuch as I do not fall into any particular category of organized religion. I do not try to analyze why bad things happen to good people, or why good things happen to bad people for that matter. I think of life as blessing enough in itself with all its suffering and all its joy.
It is up to each individual to decide the degree to which he will let the positive or negative experiences of life effect him personally. This is only possible because a higher power instilled free will in humans. This is the power that personifies the idea of God. This is the power in each of us that can never be harnessed, and it is the power that makes all things possible for all people. Some are never able to fully connect to this power, so they scoff at the "faith" of those who have. This explains the many differing "religions" as well as the need to raise the banner of their non-belief above that of a "merciful God."
The war on religion rages on through humanity, as it always has. Every war ever fought has been fought in the name of somebody's idea of a god and with that god's blessing, even if the "god" was unconventional, as in the case of Communism, because the "god" is power. I respect anyone's "religion" as long as that religion brings him solace in hard times, strength in character, and requires him NOT to force his belief system on me. That causes war. That causes the "good guys" to defend against the "bad guys," and both sides take casualties. Always.
America must not become a casualty because of religion. It was established on a moral high ground that rivals any of the holiest places on earth that are being fought over right now. The remarkable human beings who were able to found this great experiment in freedom did not all belong to the same religious club. Some were even agnostics and atheists. All of them were able to come together and pool their free will in creating the founding documents that would insure a new world free of religious persecution. None of them opposed God so much they excluded His name being associated with America. God did bless America with these men and all those who have struggled to keep this country free every since. Jihad be damned!
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