…my mind keeps returning to the abducted Assyrian Christians that I wrote about Thursday. The good news is, in what looks like the first humanitarian act by ISIS to date, some are reporting that a few of the abductees are to be released.
CPAC, Club for Growth – the race for the GOP nomination in 2016 is now in full swing and Scott Walker seems to be the pretty clear frontrunner at this early and premature moment. When I sat down to write this post I collected roughly a dozen pieces to demonstrate how well Walker is doing and how afraid of him the left seems to be. (It is really not surprising. I was told by an RNC operative in December that if Walker got in people would line up to support him very quickly.) But as I was reading through piece after piece on CPAC, one small piece by Cortney O’Brien on Townhall caught my eye:
Bakers are being forced to bake wedding cakes for gay couples, students are being punished for speaking up for their faith in schools and our soldiers are even being denied the opportunity to read their bibles. Is the kind of freedom loving culture our Founding Fathers envisioned?
Cal Thomas, who moderated the Conservative Political Action Conference’s Saturday morning panel entitled “Religious Freedom in America: Would the Pilgrims Still Be Welcome Here?,” greeted the crowd as “fundamental bigots.” Why? Because that’s how the media often refers to anyone who believes in religious freedom, he explained. Included on the panel were radio host Dana Loesch, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and Representative Randy Neugebauer (TX-19).
Thomas asked the panelists to pinpoint the biggest threats to religious freedom.
And suddenly Walker’s surge did not seem that important; something else altogether hit me. Obama’s aversion to the use of the military is an infringement on religious expression as well. Jesus said, (John 15:13) “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ” Our military men and women have volunteered to lay down their lives for our nation and those that our nation chooses to defend – it is an act of love. And for many that act is made out of Christian devotion. Amongst the military people I know their families understand this as well, and their sacrifices are also a part of their religious devotion.
Now , of course, decisions about when and how to use the military are complex and not to be made lightly. That’s not the point. Obama seems to never ever want to put the life of a soldier at risk. Even when he decides to use force, drones and long range bombing predominate – the least risky methods of military action we have at our disposal. On some level, Obama’s policies regarding the use of the military force robs our military men and women of practicing their devotion to God in the way that they see fit.
The antipathy to traditional and deep expressions of faith run strongly through this administration. Obamacare and abortion and fines for refusing service are just the tip of the iceberg. This antipathy is much more fundamental. To them faith is a matter of peace, love and tolerance. For many of us faith is a matter of carefully crafted ethics born in sacrificial love. For them faith seems to be about feeling good about yourself and avoiding pain. For us faith is about working hard and sacrificially to build a character that will allow us to stand tall and actually be good, not just feel like we are.
Arthur C. Brooks says, “In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success.” The Obama administration seems to want to deny us the opportunity to earn our success. Whether that success is in military action, or in making enough to pay for our own health insurance, or in developing a deep Christian character, this administration seems driven to deny us any opportunity to do so. Is it any wonder then that the nation seems so moribund?
While Americans should be allowed to read the Bible in any place they see fit and refuse service for things they disagree with, Scott Walker and the rest of an amazing and talented pack need to strike a chord even more fundamental than just those issues. They need to turn Americans loose to express their faith not just through proclamations of love and well-being, but through struggle, sacrifice and hard work. We need to return to the days when our faith is evident in our character, not just our words.