The Final Word

Two days ago, I had my hand slapped by a blogger on Facebook.

Her post mentioned something about the Constitution being the law of the land, not the Bible. And if the Bible was law, we might as well move to Iran.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the Constitution is our law, and should always be so,  I responded that the foundation of our country lies in the words that we are “one nation under God”, and even our money says “in God we trust”.

Her reply was that those two axioms came in the forties and fifties, in response to the red scare; they are not the foundation of our country at all.

I’ve been, as my son would say, a little salty ever since. They are the words I grew up with. They are the words my class and I have said every single morning for thirty years. They are the words on our currency which I touch every day of my life. And it doesn’t seem that they hold meaning for much of America any more.

“Let it go,” said my beloved husband, who knows how much I yearn for the final word.

“But I have to stand up for Him!” I cried.

“God is perfectly capable of standing up for Himself,” he replied. Which is, of course, true. But if I say nothing, I am not representing what I believe. I am allowing the voices of people who aren’t Christian to silence those who are.

These are troubling times, times when it may be easier to scorn Christianity than to adhere to it.

But as I sat in church on Maundy Thursday afternoon, I was reminded of how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. He came to serve, not be served. If my faith means anything at all, and to me it means a great deal, I want to care like He cared. I want to obey the words He spoke at the Last Supper:

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” ~John 13: 34-35 (The Voice translation)

That’s all that really matters.

That’s the final word.

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17 thoughts on “The Final Word”

  1. am still praying for you to realize the opportunity to share the truth that means so much to all of us. There are times when our responses feel ordained then there are times when we think we do more damage than good but nothing is random and all will end up glorifying God. Thank you for your courage

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  2. Let me say up front – and respectfully – that I am not a Christian, but I would like to think that God, in whatever incarnation or uncarnation, would hardly need or even want to be defended in the use of His or Her name on a piece of money or in an oath of fealty to a flag of state (written by – horrors! – a socialist, no less, who originally accompanied the Pledge with the same arm gesture later used by the Nazis to salute Hitler).

    And not that you are explicitly advocating against it, but I constantly fail to understand why the constitutional separation of church and state – its critical importance and the benefits it accrues to both state and church – are so difficult for so many people to understand. Those who are members of a religious minority understand that importance. Those desperately striving for freedom under theocratic rule certainly understand it.

    We are fortunate to live in an astonishingly, beautifully and often messily heterogeneous society (I am speaking of the United States), and my respect, even my love for others – depends upon my not insisting that they hold to the beliefs I may hold dear, on my not trying to find a way to attach, leech-like, my own particular religion (or lack thereof) onto a very clearly espoused Enlightenment idea thought important and forward-looking enough to include in one of the world’s great constitutions. How such a fundamentally just idea can be seen as a threat to religion – or as an attempt to “silence” it – is quite beyond me.

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  3. Seraillon, you write so eloquently. I always appreciate your point of view, and receiving a comment from you here.

    I don’t think God needs to be defended by us. As my husband said, He is fully capable of His own defense. When I speak of the Pledge of Allegiance (above) I’m saying I have always believed we are “one nation under God”, and I have proclaimed that all of my life with others who said it with me. Who knows, maybe they didn’t believe it as I did.

    Yet I agree that separation of church and state is necessary and important. In no way do I want the church to rule. I love America. I love her freedom and her diversity. I love the classroom of children I teach, comprised of children from India, Japan, Uzbekistan and the United States. They enrich my life daily (just as reading translated literature does) with their culture and their points of view.

    Please do not mistake my post as saying that I insist, or even feel, that others must adopt my faith. I do not feel that in any way. We are free to choose what we believe, and that is the glorious thing about America, as well as the Savior in whom I put my faith.

    If I could summarize my post, it would be to say that I feel the voice of the Christian (which I once heard loud and clear) is becoming hushed by political components. We hear from equal rights groups, as we should, and we hear from many Muslims quite unashamedly. But, I do not know who is speaking up for the Christian. So, I speak here from time to time. Not perfectly. Perhaps not even eloquently. But the lovely thing is, I have the freedom to do so. At least today.

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    1. Bellezza – Thank you for that quite eloquent clarification. I did not really think you were advocating against church/state separation, but I wasn’t entirely sure. And I think we are probably more in agreement than it might seem. While from my perspective I feel there’s no shortage of people speaking up for Christianity, I also know that many of these voices are often the most extreme – and the loudest. If they would respectfully dial it down a bit from time to time, we might just get to hear the saner, more moderate voices across the religious and political spectrum, which are, I have great faith, out there in abundance.

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  4. Let me state, at the top, that I am not going to get into any sort of discussion or argument on someone else’s blog but I feel compelled to say two things. Take them for whatever you think they’re worth.

    First, nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about a separation of church and state. You will not find those words in our founding document. What you will find is the acknowledgement that religion is so fundamental, so important, that the government is prohibited from making any laws to interfere with a person’s right to worship as they see fit.

    That is all it says and it says that because of the tyranny of religion those who came here from England to escape.

    Here is the First Amendment, as written:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    And second, as Christians, were are tasked by Christ to share our faith with others. It is an important part of the Christian faith to profess that faith. God said if we deny him on earth he will deny us in paradise.

    The hue and cry against Christians who simply want to be allowed to worship as they see fit is nothing less than unconstitutional and I find it amazing that so many want to silence Christians for the reputed intolerance while the other side is allowed to be as intolerant, vile, and bullying as they wish.

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    1. “…the government is prohibited from making any laws to interfere with a person’s right to worship as they see fit.” I pray with all my heart that this is not taken away from us. I sometimes feel the need to ‘look over my shoulder’ when I proclaim my faith, in fear that I will no longer have that right. It feels like others’ rights are becoming more important than our right to worship, sometimes.

      And, I believe in the need to share my faith with others. I tried to point to that in the quote about serving one another in love. If I can serve graciously, give generously, smile genuinely, proclaim His name faithfully, I feel that I am doing just that.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond here, for strength of faith and knowledge of our country’s history.

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    1. From that letter, I especially highlighted these words:
      “unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person” which is what I believe we are meant to be. It seems all too easy to turn Christianity into judging one another rather than loving and serving one another, the point of which I tried to make at the bottom of my post.

      (It’s interesting how many hateful responses that letter received in its comment section.)

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  5. Thank you so much for your courage and valiance to stand up for Him. This country is losing sight of its principles and it’s up to us as the individuals to continue to carry out the spreading of the word. Blessings

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    1. I am simply a book blogger with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not a very valiant person, proclaiming His name loudly above the fray. I just felt the need to write this post in the light of what happened on Facebook, but most
      especially for this holy Easter weekend. Thank you for reading it and responding kindly.

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  6. I remember when the words “under God” were added to the pledge of allegiance we kids all said at the beginning of each school day.

    Since I was young I did not think about this change one way or another. But now I wonder how this change might have been felt by my parents who were civil libertarians.

    Our family attended church every Sunday. We were “Episcopooplians” as my father used to say. He used to read Evening Song everyday at that church, and I often attended with him.

    In high school and college days, I learned that my parents were “card-carrying members” of the American Civil Liberties Union.
    Previously, during WWII, my parents stuck out their necks and took an unpopular editorial stand in the weekly newspaper they published, against the evacuation of our Japanese-American neighbors. There was strong opposition to them in the local community, and I am proud of them for doing what they did.

    The words “in God we trust” and “one nation under God” are words you relate to and love. I salute you for speaking up for what you believe.

    To me, those words feel exclusive. I want inclusive language for our nation. I am sensitive to what people of different faiths and with different ideas about the deity might feel when they are asked to join in the pledge of allegiance or finger a coin in their pockets. What do atheists feel, or Buddhists?

    Do they feel left out?

    P.S. I love your book blog, and visit your site every week. Thank you for letting me voice my opinion.

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  7. I would have stood with your parents against the evacuation of the Japanese-American citizens myself. Good for them for the courage to do so, against popular opinion. As my dear friend says, “When were the masses ever right?”

    The comments, and exchange of thoughts, have been very interesting to me this week. They cause me to stretch and think and wonder. I know this to be true for myself: I believe in God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I don’t want that belief taken away from me. I also believe that God loves all of us, that we are created equally and need to care for one another as equals. When someone is mistreated, abused, or dishonored in any way I am horribly upset.

    I would hope that those feelings, which come from my heart, are somehow clear in my post and comment.

    As for the book blog, where I think I’ll stay!, I’m so glad that you like my site. I’m also glad that you feel free to voice your opinion. You, and all visitors, are welcome here.

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