Maybe it's the grilled ham and scrambled eggs in Denny's this morning. Maybe it's the guffaws and wise cracks of the truckers watching Price is Right on the flat screen TV over the bar. Maybe it's the high octane coffee, but I can't stop reliving the beautiful scene that unfolded just a few hours ago in the Tennessee hills. Driving north from I-40 on highway 92, a hilltop revealed a panorama of hills in the distance, each row a little taller than the preceding, like God's own amphitheater. Low lying clouds rested in the valleys, concealing all but the smokey hilltops themselves. Nestled in the foreground was the sleepy little town of Midway. A rather prominent church, its white steeple easily the highest manmade structure around, seemed small unto insignificance against the massive, billowy white backdrop of ground-level clouds. It looked as if the clouds could drift forward just a little and swallow the town entirely. Do you remember the song?
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise
Soaking in scenes like this, it is easy, easy beyond description to become completely lost in thoughts of gratitude and appreciation. Appreciation for those whose courage and foresight secured our freedom. Appreciation for the Founders who famously broke with the whole tide of human history, preferring to design a system of government that would actually transfer power from them to the citizenry rather than the other way around. Appreciation to the Author of the freedoms the Founders secured with their wisdom and that our ancestors secured with their blood.
Against this flood of happiness, this tidal wave of liberty, paddles Barack Obama, who last week at the National Prayer Breakfast intoned his received vision that, "…for unto whom much is given, much shall be required," …to Internal Revenue. Fresh from this devotional, his Health and Human Services Secretary ruled that Christian organizations would be forced to cover contraception and sterilization in their health plans, in direct contravention to their doctrine and most deeply held moral beliefs. But what's a little thing like religious freedom in the face of a more pressing need to abort the unborn. Bishop David Zubik, of Pittsburgh has written that the Secretary and the President, "have said 'To hell with you' to the Catholic faithful of the United States. To hell with your religious beliefs. To hell with your religious liberty. To hell with your freedom of conscience. …" Even the Archbishop for the Archdiocese of the Military Service issued a letter to Catholic members of the military announcing, "It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle."
Showing the strength of her convictions, Nancy Pelosi replied, "I’m going to stand with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made and I support it." Our overseers in Washington DC have evidently overlooked the scripture reminding those that would harm children that, "it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
At some point, it becomes necessary to stand and be counted. At some point, it becomes necessary to draw a line in the sand. Through a series of Constitutional crises, from the Executive declaring the Senate to be in recess to a plethora of Czars, from the government compelling private citizens to enter into private contracts to infringements on religious liberty, Barack Obama is bringing us to a decision point. I take great solace and strength from the knowledge that my redeemer is not of this world, and that my ultimate allegiance is to eternal truths, rather than the received wisdom of a small man paddling against the American tide.