One More Time, by Ed Evans
A recent conversation with one of my sons, now in his 40's, at first held great promise for my sense of fulfillment, but quickly morphed into a pre-packaged, pre-digested, opinion that his old man lacked wisdom, knowledge and an approved sense of the future. For my part, I quickly saw that in my desire to provide my children the best of what I had lacked, they had earned nothing and had little appreciation for what they had. They had joined the generation that wants to swallow but doesn't want to chew. They seem incapable of recognizing, and therefore preparing for, the virulent danger that awaits, indeed approaches, them.
As my now adult son discussed his discoveries about Christianity in his life, I was excited to hear his recognition of spiritual forces at work in his daily endeavors, of his prayer life and his studies. But as he talked I began to hear him glossing over important spiritual issues, alluding to the popular modern "big church" myth that God wants us all to be rich, disease-free, and successful. If we weren't, then we simply lacked faith. After all, this is God's world, we are all His children, and we can accomplish anything through love, he said.
When I began to gently present scriptures to the contrary, he became impatient with my refusal to agree. It soon became apparent he was the product of one agenda-driven teacher, and he must be correct or everything he knew collapsed. I was reminded of the elderly lady who believed the world rested on the back of a giant turtle, which stood on the back of an elephant. When questioned regarding what the elephant stood on, her response was an angry, "Oh no you don't, it's turtles and elephants all the way down!"
It soon became apparent my son was the victim of a personality cult that had little to do with the reality of Christianity, or really any religion. Muslim extremists, indeed, any extremist stands on the same, dangerous precipice. One false move and it all collapses.
What is truly dangerous here is that we live in a world scripture tells us is not ruled by God, but "the god of this world", i.e., Satan. It can be a dangerous, violent world. At this writing, in fact, Muslim extremists are at war with the freedoms and liberties of the United States of America. And what is lacking among those who do not, or will not, recognize this, is a sense of history. History can be an excellent teacher, if we will but enrich ourselves of her wisdom.
For example, history shows there is a system to what is happening to America, of which the history-illiterates are unaware, putting themselves in danger. History shows that America's enemies most often begin by arguing the facts. When they cannot prevail on facts, they argue the law; natural, historic and otherwise. When the law will not allow them to prevail, they shoot the messenger. They turn to violence; war.
Our current extremist enemies, ignorant of the depth and breadth of American resilience, back-up systems, and basic strength of character miscalculated that a horrendous first-strike would bring the nation trembling to its knees. It didn't. So now they have retrenched, and with increasing numbers of Islamic immigrants are using the facts of American Christian tradition of "fair play" and our own legal system of innocent until proven guilty to remold the nation to their authoritarian-religious requirements. There is resistance, but Americans' own "do unto others" traditions are giving the challengers inroads, even as the violent realities of Sharia Law give some people pause.
It's important to recognize here that there are many, many decent Muslim people in America. But such organizations as CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, extremist Mullahs, and other organizations with an Islamic political-ideological agenda, are behind the drive against assimilation, demanding Americans bend to traditions and laws anti-thetical to American society. This is a cultural mistake and has led to the formation of ultra-conservative and outright anti-Islamic groups.
The final outcome will probably be a long time in playing out, but no one should discount history's witness that the final step may well be violence; war.
It is in the final coming to grips with the necessity to protect the original freedoms and liberties that my sons' generation worries me. Two of my four sons, like myself, fought on military battlefronts for the freedoms we enjoy. And yet, they espouse such beliefs that the forces of either business or Christian love will overcome what those of my generation see as a violent threat to America continuing to be the bright light of freedom in the world. These two sons, truth be known, did not see combat. Intellectually they know freedom isn't free, that some paid all for what we enjoy. But unlike many of my generation -- who know by face and name and personality those names on the Vietnam Wall -- they are not acquainted with those who earned with their life's blood what we enjoy. It is a truism of life that what is given to you, what you do not earn yourself, is never quite as important as for which you paid dearly.
When I and my fellow Marines were engaged in the Siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, during February 1968, we took a panel from a C-ration cardboard box, wrote on it and stuck it in the ground. If we were overrun by the superior numbers of enemy surrounding us, it was our message to the world: "For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected never know."
It is men and women such I, if we survive long enough -- I am now in my 70's -- who will ensure that if freedom be lost it is lost in blood, and does not die with a whimper. It is we who have declared that we will die on our feet before we will live on our knees. My sons and their generation see no such possibility, and so are not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice. I can only hope we live long enough to protect them, one more time.