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|Believers Must Fight on the Right Front||02/12/2004|
Many Christians are disturbed by recent trends against open expressions of Judeo-Christian principles. From the removal of Judge Moore's granite "Ten Commandments" monument in Alabama to the decision of activist judges in Massachusetts who seem eager to equate traditional marriage with homosexual unions, the forces of religious intolerance appear to be gaining ground. But this may not be the fight in which Christians wish to engage.
Christians around the world have suffered brutally for centuries, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Empire. Even today, missionaries and believers are being tortured, maimed and killed for their faith. America still stands as a nation where people can worship how, when and where they please.
It would be a national tragedy to tear down all of our national monuments that contain any religious reference or imagery. But even if the PC storm-troopers tore down the statues of Moses in and on the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., the Library of Congress and the Ronald Reagan Building, they could not remove the legacy of the God of Moses from people's hearts. Even if the floor of the National Archives building were covered to conceal the Ten Commandments, the ears of our children would not be covered from hearing the principles contained in those simple instructions. The windows of the U.S. Capitol could be shattered to eliminate the image of George Washington kneeling in prayer, but the power of prayer will continue to shatter the destructive forces in the lives of hurting people. The references to "Almighty God" could be cut out of all of the speeches, writings and monuments of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and every other great American leader, but the influence of Almighty God will never be eliminated. The issue is not whether we keep them displayed in public; the issue is whether we keep them displayed in our lives.
John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, recently wrote, "If Christians really want to have a positive impact on the world around them, let them return to their communities and tend to the sick, feed the poor, and stand up for the weak and defenseless. Then maybe there will be no need for monuments."
While it is tempting to join the fight over the symbols of our faith, the real battle is not on this front. The reason that our founding fathers wrote about God was because the truth of God was written on their hearts. Our forefathers' testimonies of faith should be preserved, but it will only represent a fading sentiment if not practiced by this present generation.
We must understand that the critical point is the power of our testimony now rather than zealous attempts to protect the past. Our major concern should be living the Ten Commandments, not defending where they sit. "In God We Trust" inscribed on our coins is not as much of an issue as whether we trust God with all of our hearts. Reciting "One Nation Under God" in the pledge is not nearly as important as knowing that this nation must be under God's direction and protection. These are the real issues at hand.
Supporting the public display of the Ten Commandments, speaking your mind and expressing your opinion is both a privilege and responsibility as a citizen, but starting a movement to force the display of engraved stones will not change hearts. In fact, it often has the opposite effect. People become irritated, their hearts harden, and the opposition organizes. In the Bible, God says that it is "not by might, not by power, but my spirit." Spiritually, It is not muscle that wins, it is the liberated life that prevails. Gaining more votes may win in the short run, but changing more lives will win forever.
The real power to positively impact our country lies in the ability of Christians to demonstrate the love of God in our lives, not to organize our ranks around courthouses. Christians feeling oppressed should take heart; America is still the land of the free. Those inclined to rally the troops and engage in a fight should assume the rightful and powerful position of spiritual warriors -- on their knees in prayer.