America by Heart – Chapter 7, The Indispensable Support of Freedom
This was a sneaky one. I read the title of the chapter thinking it might be anything. Turns out that the hidden message of this chapter is religion. We have hit the “faith” part of “Family, Faith and Flag.” Although (spoiler alert) the next chapter is called “I Hear America Praying” so we might be in for two scoops of religion in this Palin-style crap cone.
Let’s get right to it.
Little Sarah had a transcendant experience when she was eleven years old. She walked out of the cabin and things seemed different when she looked at the mountains. It hit her. “If God knew what He was doing when He created Alaska, then He certainly had some ideas in mind when He created a speck like me.” (Am I a bad person if I smile when Sarah Palin calls herself a speck?)
It was that moment that she became “reborn.” (Satisfying evangelicals who won’t take her seriously unless they see the word “reborn” in the book.)
Her calling is to be of service to others – “my neighbors, my community, my state, and eventually my country.” (Noooooooooooo!)
“That desire pointed me in the right direction (some would say the “right” direction).”
(Ohhhhh. Get it? “RIGHT” direction? Haha. Sarah made a funny. *jabs you in the ribs with my elbow*)
George Washington said that faith was an indispensable support. We have separation of church and state but we must have faith. It’s part of what makes us “exceptional.”
It seems incredible that JFK’s Catholicism was ever an issue, but it was.
She was taught that Kennedy’s speech about religion succeeded in the best possible way and reconciled public service and religion without compromising either one. But now that she has revisited that speech as an adult, she realizes that everything she was taught was wrong. Kennedy dismissed religion as a private matter. That’s bad. He even objected to government funding of religious schools!
And then there’s Ted Kennedy. (tsk, tsk) He “had a long career advocating positions directly at odds with his Catholic faith, even though his faith was sincere.
(Phew. She’s not questioning his faith, just saying he was a hypocrite. Yes, Sarah. Too soon.)
Forget those Kennedys who thought that religion should be irrelevant. If we really want an example of someone who knows how to handle religion and political life we should turn to… Mitt Romney!
Clip from a speech by Mitt Romney that begins: “America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us….”
“Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” (I guess atheists think they are free, but they’re not.)
More of this interminable speech from Mitt Romney. He wants to embrace religion. Kennedy just wanted to run from it. (I will agree with her. Kennedy is no Romney.)
“Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.” (So if you have a problem with the TSA violating your fourth amendment rights, you can complain by taking a number and waiting at the Pearly Gates to give somebody the what-for.)
There are still people who reject the gift of our religious heritage and somehow find it “divisive.” “Where we see tolerance, they see intolerance. Where we see wholesome purpose, they see a sinister agenda.” (Where WE se WE and THEY – THEY call us divisive.)
OK, sometimes religion is a little over the top. We don’t think adulterers should be stoned to death. And we don’t like how Muslims abuse women.
As Mitt says, “Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.” (Thinking that she’s preparing for Plan B – a Romney/Palin ticket. Or a Palin/Romney ticket. *shudder*)
John Adams quote: “Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (Yup. We’re screwed.)
Ministers used to be the most educated people in society. “And they had a captive audience once a week. Not only did they preach revolution, they also organized militias and fought in the war.” (What is she saying here?)
There was a minister during Revolutionary War times who delivered a sermon and then threw off his clerical robes to reveal a military uniform. Then he ran off to join the Continental Army.
John Witherspoon was a hero and founding father, but he was overlooked by people who are threatened by religion. He was the only member of the clergy to sign the Declaration of Independence. But nobody remembers him for that. They only know him because he was a direct ancestor of the actress Reese Witherspoon. (Yes, because more of us are interested in researching the genealogy of movie actors than those who read the Declaration of Independence.)
A long quote from Reese Witherspoon’s great great great great great grandfather. “A republic once equally poised, must either preserve its virtue of lose its liberty.”
You may hear that the founders were Enlightened Deists who tried to reconcile religion with reason. Despite this, they all had genuine faith.
George Washington added the words “so help me God” to his oath of office. Sarah Palin “ad-libbed ‘so help me God’ every time she was sworn in as an elected official. (Isn’t it eery how just like George Washington she is??)
Some people wanted George Washington to be a king. He didn’t want to. You can’t be free and have a king. Long quote from Washington’s farewell address talking about the importance of national morality and religious principle.
Morality cannot be sustained without religoius belief. This may not be a politically correct view, but it’s true. (Heads up atheists – do not adopt children, give blood, donate to the food bank, or save drowning puppies. These acts by their very definition are immoral and unsustainable without religious belief. Sorry.)
Even Thomas Jefferson who was the least religious founding father was still really religious. Calvin Coolidge said that Jefferson got some of his best ideas while he was sitting in church meetings.
Samuel Adams let a bunch of people in prayer, even though they were different denominations. “And like most Americans, I feel exactly the same way. Despite differences in the denomination you may belong to, if you love both God and country, I’ll be happy to pray with you too.” (Wow. She’ll pray with you despite your Denomination? Let nobody accuse her of being narrowminded…)
One of her favorite examples of explicitly religious acts of the Fathers, comes from a dissentin opinion by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (GAK!!! Wasn’t expecting that one. Although I shouldn’t be surprised.) Long quote from the dissenting opinion that the 10 Commandments shouldn’t be displayed at a courthouse in Kentucky.
Page 2 of Scalia’s dissent. The President says “so help me God”; there’s In God We Trust on our money; and we say that we are a nation “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The Founders understood our political freedom as resting on the indispensable support of religious faith.”
Hey, Alexis! Haven’t seen you in like a chapter and a half. Yes, once again we have Alexis de Tocqueville to tell us that in the early 1800s he was struck by how religious Americans were.
Lots of Americans have faith, but some think it’s dangerous. Some think religion is divisive.
George Washington set aside November 26 as a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Even though Thanksgiving falls on a different day depending on the year now, November 26 is personally significant to her because it’s her sister Molly’s birthday! Yay! They pray when they eat cake.
Another speech from George Washington. Religious intolerance is bound to exist.
Tocqueville thought we were exceptional.
(I slam the book closed and throw it across the room. I rub my face vigorously with my palms. I get up and retrieve the book.)
Lincoln’s second inaugural address had 703 words, and 14 of them were God.
Lincoln’s “with malice toward none” passage. (Well, non except Muslims and non-Americans)
That morning when she was 11, she discovered that she has a purpose in the world. (To increase my pain threshhold?)
America has a purpose too… shining city on the hill, beacon of liberty, freedom, faith, authority of God, Constitution, Creator, virtue,………… Done.
Keep your crosses on and your flags wrapped tightly around your shoulders for the next installment – I Hear America Praying.