A portion of this article is reprinted from an article first published 15 September 2010.
In the Gospel of the Redman, the Seatons record the Twelve Commandments of the Redman. The first is stated as follows:
There is but one Great Spirit. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, invisible. He pervades all things at all times. Reverence Him, and respect all worship of Him by others, for none have all the truth, and all who reverently worship have claims on our respect. So also, show respect to such things as are held sacred by others. (The Gospel of the Redman. Ernest Thompson Seaton & Julia M. Seaton, 1966, emphasis added.)
We profess to be a Christian nation. Then perhaps we should behave like Christians. Was it not Jesus Christ who taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (KJV: Matt 7:12)
Would we as Christians find it acceptable for others, including Muslims, to burn the Bible? Would members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find it acceptable for others to burn the Book of Mormon? Would Hindus find the burning of the Vedas acceptable? Or Buddhists the Tipitaka? Or Taoists their holy books of Tao te Ching and Zhuang Zi? Or Muslims the Qur’an? Why then should we be surprised at Catholics finding it unacceptable for anyone to disparage Rosary Beads? Should we not all “show respect to such things as are held sacred by others?” Is this not what the Savior of the World was talking about when he said, “do ye even so to them?”
I believe it was Voltair who said: “I don’t believe a word you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.” We may have “Freedom of Speech” in this nation, but with that freedom also comes responsibility. Burning flags and sacred books or disparaging Rosary Beads may be regarded by jurists as “protected free speech,” but what is the wisdom of it?
I am reminded of one episode of “The Waltons.” It was during World War II, and the residents of the community decided they needed to burn all the German books in their community. They gathered in the “square” and started the fire and were throwing the German books into the fire. John Boy retrieved one of the books from the fire and had an older resident, a German lady, read from the beginning of the book:
Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Und die Erde war wüst und leer, und es war finster auf der Tiefe; und der Geist Gottes schwebte auf dem Wasser. Und Gott sprach: Es werde Licht! und es ward Licht. (1Mose 1:1-3)
You have probably guessed that this is Genesis 1:1-3! These “good” Christians were burning the Bible! With the older woman and John Boy standing in the square, the citizens faded into the night and the “book burning” was stopped.
Twelve years ago in our Constitutional Republic, founded upon the notion that we should be free to worship God according to the dictates of our hearts, saw several ignorant religious bigots go on a Qur’an burning frenzy because of the proposed mosque or community center at Ground Zero in New York City. Today, another ignorant religious bigot, Daniel Panneton, has suggested that Catholic Rosary Beads are a threat to our Liberty. This veteran would ask him, “How many Catholics, who held sacred their Rosary Beads, lay in our national cemeteries having given their lives in the cause of Liberty?”
Consider the following two statements. The first is by Rev. Martin Niemüller, a German Lutheran pastor, who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1938. “In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.”
Fred Albury has quipped, “When they took the 4th Amendment away, I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs. When they took the 6th Amendment away, I was quiet because I had never been arrested. When they took the 2nd Amendment away, I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun. Now they’ve taken away the 1st Amendment, and all I can do is be quiet.”
We as patriots have often heard that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It is interesting to me that the earliest statement that reflects this sentiment was made by John Philpot Curran in a speech upon the Right of Election in 1790. He said:
It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
Right is right even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Our unalienable rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the private ownership of property are granted by God and can be abridged by the government only as We the People will allow it. In the words of Daniel Webster, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
After Alexis de Tocqueville visited America, he wrote, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
We the People need to remember the moral compass of our ancestors who established our Constitutional Republic to be able to worship their God according to the dictates of their own hearts. As Alexis de Tocqueville observed, We the People need “pulpits aflame with righteousness” and believing citizens in the pews. Citizens who believe and understand that “this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.”
Whether by ignorance or neglect by those who understand, it is the same. In the economy of God, Freedom belongs only to those who believe in it the most – Those who, like the Founding Fathers, are willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to its attainment and its preservation. If We the People neglect our responsibility the “light of freedom” will be extinguished not only for ourselves and our posterity, but for the entire world! Never forget that America, our Constitutional Republic, is the last free man standing and the beacon of hope to the oppressed of all nations!
We the People, each of us, should take a lesson from the above and “show respect to such things as are held sacred by others.” This day We the People should ALL be Catholic as we stand in defense of their sacred Rosary Beads.
May God Bless and Save the United States of America —
Our Constitutional Republic !