Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Celebrating America!

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

When the Christian Samuel Francis Smith wrote these words in 1831, he was having a bout of patriotism. His fellow classmate at Andover Seminary, Lowell Mason, had asked him to translate some German music into English. Smith evidently figured he would have none of it, and wrote these wonderful American lyrics that served as our country's unofficial national anthem until "The Star Spangled Banner" was formally adopted.

All has not always been well with America. Nor is it so now. Consider, for instance, the words of Civil Rights advocate W.E.B. DuBois who wrote a spoof off of this song:

Of course you have faced the dilemma: it is announced, they all smirk and rise. If they are ultra, they remove their hats and look ecstatic; then they look at you. What shall you do? Noblesse oblige; you cannot be boorish, or ungracious; and too, after all it is your country and you do love its ideals if not all of its realities. Now, then, I have thought of a way out: Arise, gracefully remove your hat, and tilt your head. Then sing as follows, powerfully and with deep unction. They’ll hardly note the little changes and their feelings and your conscience will thus be saved:

My country tis of thee,
Late land of slavery,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my father’s pride
Slept where my mother died,
From every mountain side
Let freedom ring!

My native country thee
Land of the slave set free,
Thy fame I love.
I love thy rocks and rills
And o’er thy hate which chills,
My heart with purpose thrills,
To rise above.

Let laments swell the breeze
And wring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song.
Let laggard tongues awake,
Let all who hear partake,
Let Southern silence quake,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to thee
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing
Soon may our land be bright,
With Freedom’s happy light
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

My only addition would be that America, while far from perfect, is to be honored and celebrated. And my only admonition would be to sing and pray to "our father's God" more often. The "Great God our King" can still deal graciously with us and be merciful to a sinful nation.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

George Tiller is Dead

Kansas late-term abortionist, George Tiller, is dead. He was murdered Sunday at his church this past Sunday. Pro-life organizations quickly and appropriately condemned the killing.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said:
“We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Kansans for Life Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp offered a succinct statement:
“Kansans for Life deplores the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and we wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Our organization has a board of directors, and a 35 year history of bringing citizens together to achieve thoughtful education and legislation on the life issues here in Kansas. We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today.”

Across the state line, Missouri Right to Life President Pam Fichter issued this statement:
“Missouri Right to Life strongly condemns the murder of Dr. George Tiller and extends our sincere sympathy to his family. We have always and will always oppose violent acts in response to the violence of abortion. Missouri Right to Life is committed to working peacefully and legally in our efforts to educate citizens on the tragedy of abortion and to work for legislation that will protect women and their unborn children. We urge all who support the sanctity of human life to offer their prayers for Dr. Tiller, his family, and to pray for an end to abortion.”

Eloquence is something that eludes me these days, so I’ll be brief and rather blunt in my observations of this rather epic event within the pro-life struggle.

First, the tragedy. The murder happened in a church and with the victim’s wife present. She is in my prayers.

Second, the truth of God’s Word. Galatians 6 teaches that we reap what we sow. It is taught elsewhere in Scripture as well. I am not the least happy in this. Rather, I am mournful of the violence that George Tiller sowed during his so-called medical career; and I am sad that more violence was sown this past Sunday.

Third, Tiller evidently was a regular church attender. I am very grieved that he felt comfortable in a church that calls itself Christian. Jesus hates the murder of innocent children. I am disheartened that many who have attended this church (Redeemer Lutheran Church of Wichita, Kansas) have been given a message that abortion is ok. It is not.

Fourth, Tiller has not met the Creator. His Creator. The Creator of the thousands he murdered. It indeed is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. I have no doubt Tiller is in hell. And for that, I am very, very sad.