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FREEDOM by Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC

It is the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us Freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us the Freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier, who serves beneath the Flag,
Who salutes the Flag,

Whose coffin is draped by the Flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the Flag,

It is the soldier, not the politician,
Who has given his blood, his body, his life,
Who has given us these freedoms!

Thank you, veterans, for your investment in our country. May you reap greater dividends than you have allowed us to enjoy.

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Russell Moore has been posting podcasts called “The Cross and the Jukebox: Roots, Music, and Religion” and it has been interesting to listen to his take on various themes in popular music.

Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, so his deep affection for country music is, at the surface, odd. But he grew up in Mississippi, so you have to cut him some slack.

Last week he analyzed Don Maclean’s iconic anthem American Pie. At the end he played a parody of American Pie which had me laughing aloud.

Turns out the parody is one of Weird Al Yankovic’s classics, and it is older than dirt. So I’m behind the times musically; that’s not news. Anyway, Weird Al masterfully spoofs both American Pie and Star Wars  in one fell swoop.

And I just had to share it with you.

By the way, Moore’s podcast is well worth listening to.

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By the 1970’s passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the federal Constitution was a forgone conclusion. Both parties had for years supported its ratification in the planks of their quadrennial platforms. The amendment was introduced first to the Congress in 1923, and by 1972 it had won approval in 28 of the 38 states needed for ratification. Within a few short years, five additional states had approved this brief amendment. It sounded innocuous, even common sense.

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Who could be against something so simple and fair?

Well, in 1972 a leader, Phyllis Schlafly, rose in opposition. Fighting what seemed to be a laughably doomed campaign, she began explaining the implications of the amendment. No doubt initially regarded as a quixotic oddity, then as a serious challenge. Slowly the tide began to turn, and her voice slowly gained traction. As 5 additional states approved ratification, 5 states voted to rescind their approvals.

Oh, Mrs. Schlafly was hated. Critics lined up to call her hypocritical and anti-intellectual. In a 1973 debate Betty Friedan famously expressed her desire to see Mrs. Schlafly burn at the stake. She endured abuse ranging from a pie to the face to bomb threats.

But she just soldiered on. Cheerfully, clearly, simply speaking truth into the national conversation.

Eventually in 1982 the Equal Rights Amendment died of natural causes, despite the extraordinary chicanery of the US Congress in extending the ratification deadline by 5 years. Its demise was attributable in large measure to one courageous leader.

We find ourselves in similar circumstances today. Same sex ‘marriage’ seems to be heading for inevitable acceptance, even approbation of American society. Courts are ruling that direction, and numerous states are approving it for their own citizens.

What will be the outcome? Will America become the Holland of the western hemisphere? Or will someone stand in the gap, taking the slings and arrows of those opposed in order to speak truth into the public conversation?

Truth wins. It takes time, but you cannot build anything long-lasting with sin of any kind, least of all lies. So truth will win out, but how many lives will be devastated in the meantime? How many souls will be twisted and wrecked by the deceitful words of sin’s champions?

History shows us that many will oppose injustice and unrighteousness, but battles coalesce, seemingly on their own, behind one man or woman. We need that champion who is willing to withstand the focused vitriol of sinners and confidently wave the standard of righteousness.

We need a Phyllis Schlafly for our generation.

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