By Harmony Grant
27 June 2007
The Dixie Chicks lost thousands of patriotic listeners after their lead singer infamously told a British audience, “I’m ashamed the President is from Texas.” I just heard their latest album for the first time; it includes a musical retort to the angry listeners who abandoned them. “I’m not ready to make nice,” wail the Chicks rebelliously.
To my ears, the song is a lament and I think that’s too bad. I wish they had responded with a powerful anthem to freedom, celebrating the vision of the USA for which our great grandfathers fought—an America whose flame is fast being extinguished by social liberalism, Zionist priorities and anti-freedom legislation.
Maybe the Chicks couldn’t write that shout to liberty. I believe true patriotism requires understanding the positive powerful freedom that comes only from moral absolutes. Democrats and anti-war hipsters like the Chicks provide no alternative. They hate Bush; they hate the war. But they offer no national salvation.
Without Christian morality and service of truth, there is little self-sacrifice and few solutions with which to resist the same forces that drove Republicans into no-win war in the Mid-East. The Democrats are faring no better; witness their overwhelming vote to call on the UN to charge Iran’s president with inciting genocide. This 411-2 vote is grandstanding for another war for Israel’s sake; like the refusal to name a date of withdrawal, it merely demonstrates the Democrats’ total obedience to the Israel lobby even if that means attacking Iran.
The Dixie Chicks’ anti-war bleat reminds me of the bumper stickers I see all over my liberal city, Portland. These decry the war but simultaneously celebrate abortion, homosexuality, and anti-God liberalism. It is a flaccid resistance that opposes one immoral act while justifying even more. That incoherence doesn’t work.
Why should the administration observe international law if we humans do not observe divine law? If there is no ultimate truth, there is no compelling reason to respect any law. We should do it so that we survive and pass this planet to our grandkids? That’s polite. But without God and absolute values, who’s to say we should? Who’s to say the human race even deserves to survive? As Dostoevsky famously wrote, “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” A society that permits everything can’t rebuke its leaders for immorality and injustice. Without God, we have no way to preserve freedom or even describe what it is.
Without justice and morality, there is no freedom. True freedom is the power to act against your own desires and do what is right. It is better and freer to be a prisoner of conscience than a wealthy sinner in Bel Air. I would rather be bound by prison walls than by slavery to sinful compulsions and compromise.
The Dutch currently prove my point. The world’s most “liberated” nation finds itself a tourist destination for drugs and debauchery, sickened by the social problems caused by sin. The Washington Post reports there’s now a broad movement in the Netherlands toward conservatism, restricting drug sales and prostitution (which have both been legal) and allowing civil officials to morally abstain from performing gay marriages.
Politicians from the orthodox Christian Union doubled their seats in the 2006 Dutch elections. The Post says desire for moral reform isn’t limited to conservative politicians. Historian James C. Kennedy attributes it to "weariness with moral squalor — the Dutch have grown tired of it and unwilling to put up with it." These famously “tolerant” libertines have found that freedom without morality is not free after all.
American progressives should pay a little less attention to Dutch environmentalism and more attention to the failure of the Dutch social experiment. In the United States, the corruption and demise of Christianity is our worst emergency. It is worse even than the Iraq war or the perverse foreign policy that, like a poisonous spider, lures us into further Mideast destruction.
Alexis de Tocqueville, famous French observer of early America, wrote that “Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.” But somewhere since 1776 we forgot that religion and freedom are a package deal. Civil libertarians seek freedom without religion; evangelicals pray on Sundays but don’t bother to preserve civil liberties. That’s why our presidential candidates are all lapdogs for Israel, our universities aren’t worth the bricks with which they’re built, and big media offers less substantive truth than you could get from a 1-900 call girl.
It’s July Fourth, and I want to celebrate. But fireworks don’t seem appropriate. They are too much like the explosions killing innocent Iraqis and American soldiers by the hundreds. Alcohol (even if I drank) would be too ironic on a day when America is already drunk with apathy, too sloshed to realize the prison being built around us.
Only one ritual seems appropriate. You do it with your head bowed.
The day Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail that the “general principles” on which America became free “were the general principals of Christianity.” He told her that these Christian truths “are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God” and July Fourth should be celebrated “as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
It was with prayer, not six-packs and sparklers, that our Founding Fathers wanted us to celebrate the Fourth. And right now, more than any time in our history, American knees should be on the ground.
Harmony Grant writes and edits for the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watch dog organization.
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