Faith in god comes before faith in government

Friday, September 14, 2007
By Clint E. Lacy

The Sept. 11 Southeast Missourian editorial, "9-11," contradicts itself by stating, "Terrorism results in the self-imposed loss of our liberties," and then goes on to state, "Despite the best efforts of terrorists, free nations all over the world remain strong — and possibly a good deal safer."

Why would a free society give up its freedom?

The only logical answer is that members of a free society are afraid and are willing to give up their freedom, or some of it, for the promise of protection from their government.

But our Founding Fathers gave us strict instruction regarding this subject.

Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither."

Acknowledging that the goal of terrorism is to incite fear and the fact that the federal government’s strategy to calm society is to expand and grow the government, while also acknowledging that, in order to do this, we must willingly give up some of our freedom, the question must be asked; "How do we keep our freedom yet remain calm?"

Believe it or not, the answers to all of these questions can be found in the Ron Maxwell movie "Gods and Generals."

The first step in feeling secure is to realize that the federal government is not our savior and cannot possibly represent the views of the citizens nor know what’s best for the citizens of the individual states.

In "Gods and Generals" we learn Stonewall Jackson’s definition of patriotism:

"As a Christian man, my allegiance belongs first to God, then my state."

We also learn how General Jackson coped with fear. When asked how he could remain so serene in the midst of battle, Jackson (played by actor Stephen Lang) states: "My religious beliefs teach me to be as safe in battle as in bed, God has fixed the time of my death, but to be always ready whenever it may overtake me — that’s the way all men should live. Then all men would be equally brave."

In a moving scene at the beginning of the movie, Reverend Pendleton quotes from the Psalm 27: 1-3:

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

American citizens have chosen to put their faith in the federal government to protect them and have willingly given up their freedom in the process.

"Gods and Generals" reminds us to put our faith and trust in God and to keep our freedom.

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