Despite the wailing and warnings and whining... America is still America. At least it was this weekend. We gathered with family to set off yearly firecracker displays on Friday night. The kiddos lit sparklers and giggled and wiggled with various smoke bombs and firecrackers. It was a good night. It felt good to be an American. It felt good to think about our country. Even though celebrations were dampened here and there with sprinkles of rain and the aftermath of the single-most destructive ruling against democracy and states' rights to govern themselves... I could still thank God I live in America. For now.
I can still drive across state lines without a permission slip. I can still light up fireworks outside the city limits. I can still wave the red, white and blue flag and pledge allegiance to it. I can still sing Oh Beautiful for spacious skies, God shed His grace on Thee, and not be ashamed of my heritage. I can still worship in the church of my choice. I can still give honor and respect due the military who've bravely fought for our rights, our freedoms, and our liberty. I can take pride in what my father accomplished during World War II.
I'm still free to pray for my country without fear of persecution; I'm free to share my faith in a public forum and write about my faith in this newspaper. I realize that someday, perhaps in the near future, that will no longer be the case. The day may come when I will be censored, not by the editor, but by the government for voicing my opinion, for exercising my 1st Amendment rights. The day may come when churches will be banned from preaching on television and radio.
I was thrilled to read this week that faith was upheld in one case here in America-- just in time for July 4th. An attack group that revels in tearing down Christians wherever it can, lost one battle. Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, who shared his faith during a congressional prayer meeting, was exonerated for crediting his faith in God for the success he'd found in life. The attack group led by Mikey Weinstein, CEO of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, failed to get Olson court-martialed. Isn't it pathetic that a group with "religious freedom" in its name, does all it can to limit or abolish freedom in religion?
I am saddened that here in Oklahoma, a New Jersey-based nonprofit group, Americans Atheists Inc., and two of its members, Aimee Breeze of Oklahoma City and William Poire of Wagoner County, won its case to remove the Ten Commandments' monument at the Oklahoma City statehouse. How ironic is it that within one week of the SCOTUS handing down its ruling to abolish the meaning of the word "marriage", that the Oklahoma Supreme Court would also rule to get rid of the Ten Commandments here in Oklahoma.
Mulling over the climate of attacks against all things Christian: speech, nativity scenes, crosses, Bibles, prayer, marriage, and personal convictions, I've concluded that Christians are not appreciated for who they are anymore. There was a time when being a Christian was a good thing, a fine thing, a noble thing. Today Christians are called bigots and hate-mongers. I wonder if some day the Ten Commandments will be "hate speech" and the Bible banned? Because Christians believe in God's Son and what He said as recorded in the Bible, they're deemed irrelevant in today's culture. And supporters of homosexual rights take sport at painting rainbows on the logos of companies whose owners are Christians who support the life of the unborn and traditional marriage.
It can be quite discouraging when we witness the dismantling of our country's historical rights and the abuse of government and judicial power. It's scary at times.
Yes, I'm grateful to be free in America, but I'm afraid of the future for my grandchildren who will be taught tolerance is not a virtue but a law of the land. Will this law of acceptability be the only way we can exercise our faith? No, "freedom is not dead in America", but I do believe it is on life-support.