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A Dream Called Freedom

Richard Walton



  • September 11, 2010
    10:00 AM
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Paul thank you sincerely that beautiful message in the song good morning and happy Sabbath and testimonies volume nine we are told we are living at the time of the end the faster filling signs of the times declared that the coming of Christ is near at hand the days in which we live our solemn and important the spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth the agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating they are strengthening for the last great crisis great changes are soon to take place in our world and the final movements will be rapid once it was a glorious day in our nation 's capital summer is warm still lingered in the air sky already looked like Falwell clear and crisp view as far as the eye can see them from Arlington Virginia can see the entire city of white pupil of our nations capitol building dwelling in the last of summer sunlight the Pratt spire of the Washington Monument Leon rolling shape of RFK Stadium for the East it was September eleven two thousand and one I was on the phone my Radeon sound of jet engines screaming at full throttle that's not an unusual sound at first I didn't think much of it in Arlington Virginia were just up the hill from the Pentagon Marine one flew by nearly every day the runway for Reagan national Airport was just out of sight couple miles to the southeast and so jet engines are not an uncommon thing to hear in that city but as they grew louder and I began to become worried thinking that perhaps an airliner was having mechanical problems in trying to return to the runway at Reagan national Airport or perhaps I thought a young fighter pilot long on enthusiasm insurance industry 's career and deciding in the bosses of the Pentagon a close haircut but that is my building began to physically shake as the aircraft got closer and closer I dropped the phone ran to the window in time to see an enormous Boeing seven fifty seven two hundred and its engine screaming at full throttle and bearing the familiar colors of American airlines come right over my window drop-down clip that should top of the tree that grew just in front of a bank slightly to the left as though it was headed for the White House and then make an abrupt sudden right turn and nine dive into the ground just short of the Western shift wedge of the Pentagon I watched as a large airliner plowed right into the side of the building and disappeared I saw the fireball and a few seconds later I felt the concussion as the shockwave reached my windows and by that time IRA grab my cabin was running down Columbia Pike towards the headquarters of the most powerful military the world has ever seen as I ran my join up with a company of Marines boiling out of Henderson haulers a young butter bar second Lieutenant jogging next to me I said Lieutenant where are fighters where are the F-15s he said sir my best information is we do not have air cover all we have is helicopters from Andrews Air Force Base and sure enough as I look across the Potomac River I can see the first Blackhawk beginning to head towards the Pentagon and for over forty minutes we were in that building pulling out the first casualties of what's now known as America's global war on terror I was carrying a major out he had a bad gash on his fore again and I don't think the news reported that the secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was on the ground that Dan Jackie down the building when the airliner hit and was standing close to the impact point of coronary rescue efforts one might say for the most part he was in our way but I was nice to see the boss cared was on the ground with us now I saw a security detail get on their earpieces they literally picked him up physically through the back of an SUV and took off and I thought well that can't be good and it wasn't couple minutes later Pentagon security vehicle pulled up and said everybody evacuate back to Henderson Hall now we have another airliner inbound for the nation 's capital probable target is the Pentagon pulled back immediately and so all of us that then they are trying to help pull people out of that building started back up the hill as we were running up the hill trying to get out of what we now knows the path of flight ninety three that ultimately crashed in Pennsylvania we saw a eight press reporter coming down the hilly park as close as he could get was trying to find Pentagon to see the plume of smoke from the impact point but you can see the building because of the the terrain feature and he asked me as these running towards the building he said that it is the Pentagon that way I said yes are it is but if you would like to report the news rather than make it I suggest you stay here for the next few minutes and held up by ten minutes later received word that we were clear to go back and I'll never forget of the most memorable sight I saw that day is again I was coming out of the the southern access door to the fifth went to the Pentagon helping another army officer out to was having trouble seeing in flash burns I heard everybody screaming and cheering and pointing eastwards RFK Stadium I turned a luck and had right out of that beautiful clear blue sky was an F-16 Charlie of Viper downloads low radar sweep all away around the District of Columbia and you can watch them as you circle around Northeast Northwest over the spires of Georgetown University and indicator ending Pratt & Whitney engine beginning how itself as he kicked in full military power started flying right towards us by the time he flew through that plume of smoke it was the headstone for a hundred and twenty five individuals yet is very lady get the wing nation and down the same high top cover over the city and that fifteen twenty minutes after he arrived he began hearing the supersonic booms of F-15 Eagles are present at that time I premiere air superiority fighter arriving over Washington well turns out the Air Force had a plan to repel any sort of airborne attack against the Congo United States and the general capital in particular unfortunately it had been updated since we were worried about Soviet bombers flying over the Atlantic Ocean and so unscramble order came our alert final word fifteen aircraft took strayed that God did with the F-15 Eagle does best a chicken burgers rocketed straight up to ninety thousand feet and shot out to see that there looked on the radar scopes and start calling of air traffic control saying we don't have any bogeys where is the enemy by that point they had to stop and refuel before they can make a high-speed dash back to the US and as it turned out the first Air Force unit over the capital is air National Guard F-16 off of Langley Air Force Base in southern Virginia but I'll tell you there's no feeling in the world better than seeing one come overhead when you bend that without air cover for the better part of an hour well as the afternoon wore on professional rescue crews showed up the Pentagon's own rescue squad been unfortunately wiped out they were stationed right in the area was impacted by flight seventy seven and its share facts and other local Virginia Haiti rescue and fire squads began to show up were finally released and not having much to do with myself I finally decided to head into the city and visit a friend in his eye when I turned on the radio I heard how our congressional representatives standing on the steps of the Capitol building where Republicans and Democrats together together to inform their country that the people 's house would be open the next day in the people 's business would go forward and when they were done with that press conference they all burst into an impromptu rendition of God bless America I can't say our congressional representatives are necessarily elected for the singing ability but I can't say that on that day and at that hour with the smoke of the Pentagon still in my hair and the pain of flash burns on my arms and face never sounded better to me God bless America indeed it is nine years now a lifetime of history says that for morning so much in this country in our lives has changed but the questions posed by that day still linger and are being debated today what does it mean to a nation to guarantee the very liberties our enemies wrapped themselves and while they are trying to destroy us can we effectively shoot our foes without hitting the Constitution what does it mean to guarantee religious liberty for everyone and allow everyone to exercise their faith as they see fit where they choose when they each use because they choose to do so I was warning on the anniversary of the data changed all of our lives I would like to share it to some thoughts about religious liberty in America where to begin on that topic will they would start the story with the framers of the Constitution and that hot summer in Philadelphia where representatives from the twelve states set down and suffered through the heat in the bluebottle flies to rest from time in history and document these simple ideals and become a vegan personal much of what is good about the human spirit we the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establish justice insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defense promote the general welfare and security of ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution driver in Washington DC have time to stop by the national archives to see that document today you'll see it is old and faded in many parts barely legible but on that day two hundred and thirty four years ago and it was signed it was Brighton new fresh quail link on shiny parchment a dream and an experiment in the first form of government to put the rights of its people first president Reagan put it this way the culmination of men's dreams for six thousand years were formalized with the Constitution probably the most unique document ever drawn long history of man's relation to man other constitution say government grants you these rights powers says you are born with these rights they are yours by the grace of God and no government on earth can take them away from you when just a few years that principle would be put to the test Americans would show the world what they meant when they signed that document it happened like this it was eighteen fifteen there is a young guy named Martin cost you could come to New York City and started the paperwork to become a US citizen he was on during revolutionary thought against the Austrians in two years after moving to New York he went back to Turkey to attend us in business matters while there are a large Austrian flotilla was in the harbor at Smyrna they discovered who he was placed on the party of Austrian Marines ashore disease goes just so they can take him back to Austria and hanging is taken aboard a large Austrian ship of the line ship of war named the czar and found himself a prisoner without a country not a US citizen they wanted criminal about to be hanged alone and in chains but shortly thereafter a small American sloop of war the USS St. Louis sailed into the same harbor at Smyrna under the command of a young command guy named commander Duncan Ingram Wing Commander anger learned from one of coaches friends with seeing the flag on that she happening he didn't really know much about culture but he knew because you had pointed to the American flag instead I will be a citizen of that country that now went to Commander Ingram and he said Commander you got to do something my friend is in chains aboard that Austrian worship so Commander Ingram wrote over the design demanded to see Mister Kustra in the Austrian Admiral Commander the flotilla somewhat a new start on that as well humor is unique and so they called Coast jet up onto the deck in chains and Commander Ingram said the Austrian admiral Admiral I will be able to converse with my citizen much better if those chains are removed so once again the admiral humored him and that the chains off and Commander Ingram walked over to coast you leaned over and he said Simon ask you one question I want you to think very carefully before you answer is it's important do you request the assistance of the American flag until she is not in the captaincy you shall have later that day three more Austrian worship team into the harbor nevertheless Commander Ingram told the Austrians as they did not turn culture over feeling is all aforesaid his disposal to protect the American life one little sleuthing is for worship twenty guns he has thirty three two hundred men against six hundred as they are nearing the Austrian fleet began to weigh anchor and apparently the Harborview as a single sale out of the mouth of the harbor beacon collars ran out its guns loaded the cans let their tapers prepared to go to war for a man who was not even yet a full American citizen at the last minute as the tapers married the powder and the cameras were ready to fire a small rowboat was lowered from the side of the design culture came back to the USS St. Louis that day Commander Ingram and his resignation for the U.S. Navy saying if I identify thought my oath of office required but if I have embarrassed my country in any way I hereby resign my commission but resignation was forwarded to the United States Senate for consideration and unanimously rejecting at the U.S. Senate use these words this battle what was never fought may turn out to be the most important battle in our nations history that is the American dream no matter how great the cost or how high the price everyone is committed to the rights and liberties of the very least among us and that is a dream it was enthusiastically embraced by the early Adventist church at a time before the Civil War was very unpopular to do so Captain Joseph Bates a sea captain himself went down to the state of Maryland to preach to the slaves that were at that point still I considered items of property of their owners in the state of Maryland as he went down there one of the slaveowners came to him he said Captain Bates are you here to free our slaves abolitionists were not very popular in the South at that time Captain Bates said Sir all of us are slaves to sin I am feared it free you and your slaves now I think to begin however our story of religious liberty in America with the drafting of the Constitution begins the story over a hundred years too late you see before there was a constitution before there was a revolution before there was America the people it came to this country came here to flee many of them religious persecution in the old world and it is in that story at the first season the grand American experiment begin to take shape unfortunately once they got here the first thing that most of those persecuted folk did was to turn around and immediately began persecuting themselves others who did not share their religious beliefs one great example of that is the Puritans refounded Massachusetts Bay colony they probably established Massachusetts Bay colony is a Puritan community and recording along very happily until a guy named Roger Williams moved there in sixteen thirty one at Roger Williams began to attack him for using civil authority to enforce the ten Commandments and other religious doctrines and also publicly criticized him for cheating Indians which the otherwise very kind and loving Puritans were only too happy to do well Mister Williams radical ideas did not go over very well one might safely like a lead balloon and in the winter sixteen thirty five is sixteen thirty five he was expelled for Massachusetts Bay colony and headed south into a brutal New England letter to found what used to hey the small island state of Rhode Island as he led the pan and into history something that has since been coming to be viewed as black letter American constitutional law he said there must ever be a wall of separation between church and state Rhode Island was founded on that principle and went on to practice what he preached by becoming home to the first Jewish synagogue in the New World in seventeen ninety President George Washington at Doug Williams sentiment in a letter to that very synagogue in Rhode Island the Torah Synagogue in Newport he said all alike possess liberty of conscience the government of the United States is bigotry no sanction and no assistance to persecution another of the framers of the Constitution Thomas Jefferson is eighteen oh two letter to the Danbury Baptist Association exactly echoed Williams sends one might even say he plagiarized believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his that he owes account to none other for his state or his worship that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions I contemplate with sovereign reverence the First Amendment which in here comes the plagiarized phrase built a wall of separation between church and state despite these grand Cinemas Welland in the eighteen forties most of the New England states had in fact state established religions and state established churches in eighteen fifty four for example Catholic girls expelled from Maine's state run school for refusing to read Scripture from the Protestant King James version of the Bible as opposed to the Catholic translation or expulsion was ultimately upheld by the name supreme court only shaking the hand finally in eighteen seventy eight when a religious court said Thorpe so-called sex interestingly enough with his birthplace at almost the same time and place as adventures and found one of its more out tray religious practices under legal fire in fact it is worth noting that Hill tomorrow the religious birthplace of the Latter Day Saints church is located a bear twenty miles from the Hiram Edson farm in Rochester New York and it is at the Hiram Edson Farmer Seventh-day Adventist is five S doctrines the Sabbath the sanctuary the state of the dead the spirit of prophecy and the second coming ball either found their bird fourteen together at that farm to become what is today the Seventh-day Adventist Church eighteen seventy eight the Dell LDS church required believers to practice what Brigham Young and that their prophet called plural marriage of US government didn't like that very much and outlawed polygamy and here now is the stage set for a trial of the wall of separation principle enunciated by Mister yours William Washington and Jefferson and Reynolds versus United States Mister Reynolds was criminally charged with polygamy he defended himself on the basis that he was exercising his First Amendment right to free exercise of his religious beliefs the Supreme Court rejected his argument but in the process adopted President Jefferson 's wall of separation metaphor stating as follows May be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the first amendment our modern understanding of the wall of separation was framed by Justice Hugo Black and two companion cases in nineteen forty seven and nineteen forty eight here's a versus Board of Education and McCollum versus Board of Education E person Incorporated the First Amendment to the stage sat through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment I'll come back to that in a moment and the column versus Board of Education held that separate religious classes during the school day were prevent were permissible if there is an educator is a permission slip from the parents and advocates disallowed that said that separate religious classes during the school they were impermissible because of the wall of separation in those two cases the court explicitly adopted the wall separation and stated that religion has no place in public life now what do I mean my saved leaders and incorporated the First Amendment to the states of prior to the Civil War the Constitution was in and still is seen to create a system of limited federal government this a succinic understanding that the federal government has no power to regulate anything unless it is expressly given authority by the Constitution do so for instance the power to tax the power to declare war and so forth other party regulate interstate commerce after the Civil War to the problem that the Constitution faced is that the nation just thought along incredibly bloody civil work in slavery but outlawing slavery was not permitted under as it is understood by the Constitution the limited reach of the Constitution because the Constitution addendum that interpreted by the Supreme Court as applying only to the federal government so the restrictions contained in the First Amendment on neither prohibiting the free exercise of religion or establishing a state religion were held to apply only eleven the federal government doing that they did not apply to limit the individual states in either of those areas now because of the Civil War the thirteenth fourteenth fifteenth amendments were passed outlawing slavery guaranteeing every citizen the due process of law and so forth and as part of that the Supreme Court after the Civil War began to go through the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution and saying it yet is for instance freedom of religion fundamental to due process of law such that the same limitations apply to the federal government should be applied to the state governments as well and a series of cases interestingly enough culminating just last year in a shared with the rather notorious Second Amendment decisions and said that the Second Amendment and guaranteeing the right of people to keep and bear arms applies to the states as well the first ten amendments in most part have been incorporated into the state such that their restrictions not restrict the state as well and as having said that she didn't thought in mind because that is not the last fought on the last conclusion on the issue of incorporation of the column stands for the proposition that religion cannot be taught in public schools even if it's on the students own time and with the permission of their parents to do so with that background in understanding that the First Amendment now generally applies to both state and federal governments let's talk about the current status of constitutional protections for the wall of separation invasion by President Jefferson the First Amendment reads like this Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof that gives us two components to the First Amendment guarantees the United States Constitution the first is a so-called free exercise clause the second prohibits the establishment of any one religion over another but now there is a fundamental and inescapable incompatibility between those two clauses which may not at first appear completely obvious let me explain it to you if we imposed a tax on church is the same way as we do on corporations or individuals and every dollar you put in the collection plate today was subject to a thirty percent tax what effect my dad have on different organized religions in which of these clauses of the Constitution might be impacted about the impact of what talk about detriment and to answer the obvious and easy question of what effect would it have in the words of the Supreme Court the power to tax carries with it the power to embarrass and destroy any time you impose a tax on something you are deterring and discouraging whatever the conduct maybe that's why we had the so-called syntaxes you by sinful products alcohol tobacco you pay a tax on why because we're trying to discourage people from doing so if we impose a tax on churches in particular for a poorer denominations or their group in our churches and in particular denomination and economically disadvantaged communities and making it harder for them to freely exercise their religious beliefs by taxing thereby discouraging and gathering together as a group of believers but what if you don't tax churches you are encouraging then and thereby potentially violating the establishment clause by encouraging the establishment of certain religious denominations now the further problem comes with that how do you determine what's a righteous church that shouldn't be taxed and one phrases that worship Satan sacrifice a small children that perhaps shouldn't be treated as a legitimate institution or legitimate church no case law has developed under both of these clauses under talk to you for just a little bit this morning about the status of treatment religion in this country under both clauses of the Constitution I have any people or this morning for instance think of the U.S. Constitution prohibits government from establishing a religion how many people think that funding of private institutions or might I say private religious institutions constitutes establishing a religion and here's a story in the beginning of time there is a case called lemon versus Kurtzman Atlanta versus Kurtzman and Morgan a focus in the first on the second protection here the establishment clause and lemon versus Kurtzman the state of Pennsylvania I have a law that allowed the state to reimburse nonpublic schools for certain educational expenses most of those schools were Catholic and the payments went for teacher salaries textbooks and school materials under the lemon test enunciated in that case there are four standards that take public funding measure has to be in order to satisfy the lemon test cannot be deemed to be an establishment of there must be first able to Jay Leno the secular purpose to the education there must be no primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion and number three must be no excessive entanglement with religion in order for the funding to be legitimate lemon test is still good law barely nominally applying the lemon factors a majority of the Supreme Court in two thousand two held at private Ohio schools couldn't take federal money through a voucher plan they could receive another resumes receive about your as most of you are aware they can spend that either at a public school or a private school and the court nominally genuflecting towards lemon basically allowed federal money to go towards private secular educational expenses what's the problem potentially with that where does federal money there goes federal control one unique feature of the Ohio bill is that no school would receive the money could teach pervasively sectarian doctrines or anything that would tend to encourage hate or dislike of another religion so for instance a Zionist school that believes in a state of Israel should be established might or might not qualify under the voucher program and once it has the money the federal government has the ability to say you can't do this this this and this new educational program or you will no longer get our vouchers any reading this Internet opinions and now retired Justice John Paul Stevens disagreed with the majority instead when ever we remove the brick from the wall was designed to separate religion and government we weaken the foundation of our democracy Justice Souter openly opined in a separate dissent that the court 's holding in zone B Simmons Harris at the Ohio school voucher case could not be rationalized with Peterson versus board of education at the most hostile than most many constitutional scholars believe that the Zalman K is spells the death now of any effective enforcement of the establishment clause is open the door that was previously closed by lemon versus Kurtzman and any follow on decision named Romer the court has upheld a restriction on schools receiving public grant money that does not allow public grant money to go to schools that are pervasively sectarian so for federal money to go to a pervasively sectarian school which is prohibited under the Romer case with in the courts opinion be an impermissible establishment of religion which China makes sense doesn't so theoretically despite the worries over Zelman the Simmons Harris there is still the Romer standard that says you can't use federal money at a pervasively sectarian school that test still stands but it is under active attack just a few years ago in Columbia Union College versus Clark Columbia Union College city state of Maryland alleging that it was not pervasively sectarian and was therefore in cc you entitled to federal money going to Union College lost in the federal district court they appealed to the Fourth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit held that requiring students to attend Asbury 's discriminating and hiring in favor of princes in your theology department people that actually belong to your religion offering a course of theological instruction was not pervasively sectarian on the Fourth Circuit held in favor of club being in college the Supreme Court denied certiorari but Justice Thomas said that he felt the entire roamer and lemon standards were incorrect and that the court would soon have to repeal of Justice Thomas also suggested that the establishment clause was by its terms limited to Congress and that's wrongly incorporated to the states to begin with so there is an active school of thought in the Supreme Court that first of all the establishment clause this is the elk Grove case establishment clause shouldn't even be incorporated to the states room rentals you hold that thought in mind are still some disagreement on that there's a school of a button admittedly minority school for the school of thought the Supreme Court says you shouldn't even apply the establishment clause to the states and states should be allowed to establish whatever religion they want so I guess Pennsylvania can become Amish Massachusetts could become Catholic and we here in California would be a Rastafarian or something there's one school of thought and yell while the pervasively sectarian test is out there and roller and actually makes a lot of sense there are a number of schools including this one I think it's back in the DC area somewhere name Columbia Union College that is actively trying to fight to these not overturn the standard of establish that there is really no such thing as pervasive sectarianism clinic was to hire education and result in conclusion is that the establishment clause while still with us is shaky is under attack and that really does not provide the level of wall or the density of wall that many of us might have thought from saying government may not establish religion that leaves us with number one the free exercise clause let's talk about where the free exercise clause stands today the free exercise clause has an interesting history and Sherry versus Vernon nineteen sixty three yet in South Carolina a young lady Seventh-day Adventist lady refused to go to work on Saturday on Sabbath and she went down to the unemployment benefits office in South Carolina and said no I really think I should get unemployment benefits because my employer said well you won't luck on Saturday and you won't want on the loans they want an audio file and she went to the unemployment office the unemployment office and while I make that exercise waiting and then eventually the band she didn't like that very much so she do smart things you have hired a lawyer and occasional later the Supreme Court the Supreme Court in nineteen sixty three held that government interference with the free exercise of religion not getting people unemployment benefits when they are fired for exercising their religious beliefs is subject to a constitutional standard of review known as heightened scrutiny now without trying to turn you in the constitutional law scholars let me cut to the chase and say that heightened scrutiny means the government loses him of that wonderful well willing that the concept on the Rastafarians among us that is not the end of the story in the nineteen eighties is my favorite cases there were around these two gentlemen that were drug counselors Mister Black and Mister Smith in the state of Oregon and they were Native Americans in the Native American religion is an ex- essential experiential religion where you don't really have a holy text the reader 's old Bible is no carotid is no vitamin D that is just that you and you know how to forgive evasions and that's your religion well apparently the great Spirit or less allowing some help and so they drink his peyote tea now anybody here and a bachelors blood finale was living in a cave over Palm Springs in her daily story Ray ran down and then Palm Springs telling them that the Arabs were coming stark naked well he did that mostly may not remember this after a bad trip on peyote so they go off to their powwow over the weekend had her peyote tea and everything is wonderful to come back on Monday morning the boss is good news guys this is your lucky day for the random drug test well if that was course of their five they hire another lawyer who pulled out his wallet and says no worries heightened scrutiny sherbet versus burger he went they went to the Supreme Court and in nineteen ninety hi Chief Justice Rehnquist writing for the court said actually we were wrong in sherbet versus Werner the correct standard should be rational basis which means that if the government has a rational basis such as your drug counselor you should be experimented with the study telling kids not to do imaging a religious reason for it this is the slipcase the government can't discriminate again she was basis out again there's a lot of constitutional scholarship in a spell on the topic of what is everything rational basis of heightened scrutiny again I make it simple for a rational basis equals the government wins are in the Congress of the United States responded to the Smith case in nineteen ninety through the religious freedom restoration act that purported to basically overrule Smith and NY is really interesting type measuring contest between the Congress which sits here and right across the street is the Supreme Court which sits here Congress said you can't do that where the Congress will change the law and went back to the Supreme Court and the sprinkler looked at the let the religious freedom restoration act instead sorry where the Supreme Court we interpret the Constitution is still unconstitutional he was the US Supreme Court has limited the RFRA to federal laws only with city and Bernie Florez and Gonzales versus UDP which is decided in two thousand and six again Gonzales involves hallucinogenic team seems to be a popular Supreme Court theme when it comes to religious liberty well at the basic into the day when we take from this the government is now restricted in prohibiting free exercise only by a standard is as long as they ever rational basis for doing so they can there is no federal constitutional protection after Sadie Bernini Florez at the state level and only legislative protection under the RFRA religious freedom restoration act at the federal level and of course that you know that law can be changed by a Congress there is no constitutional no realistic constitutional constraints at the federal or state level okay I might go short let's open the wordwrap Luke chapter twenty one the Chapter twenty one verse twenty five it's meaning and uses likely sitting on the Mount of olives looking out over the beautiful sparkling city of Jerusalem and his disciples come to have any say Lord what'll be the signs of your coming and in the end of the world the Lord response he says there will be signs in the sun moon and stars upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity the sea and the waves roaring and if you're reading along in the NIV version which is probably that the best in this instance translation you'll find the original Greek I goes on and says men will faint with what men will faint with terror of a question is what happens in a time of fear at times the Bible predicts will have grown man feigning from terror I suggest to you in a bit without black letter constitutional protection the religious and civil freedoms enjoyed in this country survived merely through the goodwill of the majority of Americans they Constitution 's role is and always must be to protect the minority from the majority and without that protection without the same strength of black letter constitutional protection it was enjoyed for much of the twentieth century America is entering the twenty first century with a freedom of religion enjoyed in large part because a majority of Americans still think it is a good idea and that is a formidable factor in favor of continued religious and civil freedom in this country I do not mean to suggest anything to the contrary Americans are a good people of large charts and a strong sense of right and wrong never ever underestimate the goodness and the greatness of Americans the Austrian Admiral Elko 's Judean signing a all shekel rumor later changes named Hitler and Saddam Hussein did all I remembered only as extraneous metaphors for the price Americans are willing to pay for the blessing of freedom but as great as this country as we have shown a willingness in times past to sacrifice liberty on the altar of freedom from fear I don't have time to talk to you Merryman for monsoon Minersville the goodbyes suffice it to say that in times of crisis this country has and the Supreme Court has approved this country suspending the writ of habeas corpus which is the most powerful guarantee any English and American jurisprudence legal system to the rights of the individual this country has discriminated against Jehovah's Witness students refuse to salute the flag and the Supreme Court's appellate this country has interned Japanese Americans by the tens of thousands and this country has upheld on the time of trouble foreseen by Jesus comes upon us we will be forced as Christians and Americans to decide what it means to guarantee freedom to every citizen in our homes our schools and our places of worship and those in the hard choices to make particularly in a time when terrorists wrapped themselves in the very protections they seek to destroy I was to leave you with two thoughts this morning out of discouragement but of hope the first is as Paul Harvey would ascend the rest of the story as Christians we have no reason to be afraid because we know how the story ends just keep reading right after the Lord 's prediction of a time of trouble the very next verse is a shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory and when these things begin to come to pass you should do what look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draws nine last reason I'll leave you with that that gives me great time is the future of ourselves and for this great nation is memories I began this morning by remembering a day that is now history to many but for me is still as fresh and memory is the day it happened when I close my eyes I can still see her last moments of flight seventy seven I can hear the screams of the wounded and I can feel the heat of burning GP for on my arms but I can also remember other things from that day the site of first F-16 Charlie flying through the smoke it was a headstone for a hundred and twenty five of my comrades beside America rebuilding just hours after the attack and the strains and God bless America being sung by our congressional representatives that evening she sacrifice for others is nothing new for Americans when the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in the same building in which the Constitution was drafted they did a very bold thing fifty six ordinary citizens in their names on a document declaring war on the most powerful military honors and those men were not penniless revolutionaries long on dreams and short on prospects twenty four lawyers and judges eleven were merchants nine were farmers of large land holdings most and achieve every material success life could offer but they put it all on the line for freedom and of those men was men who signed John Hart was driven from the side of his terminally a wife and had to live for more than a year on the run hiding in the forest in the caves and when he finally could return his wife was dead the children were gone he never saw them again his property destroyed he died of a broken heart Carter Braxton of Virginia had to sell all the ships to pay his debts and died penniless in rags so it was a Valerie Clymer whole Walton Gwinnett Rutledge Morris Livingston Middleton Mister Nelson learning the general Cornwallis was using is home to the headquarters may not Gerald Washington the fire on and destroyed his home in that man died bankrupt despite the cost there is not one historical record of any of those men ever expressing bitterness or regret for the choice they made fifty six ordinary citizens founded a nation withdrew from sea to shining sea three hundred million people over hundred thousand of them today at this moment serving around the world in harms way fighting for somebody else's freedom fighting for others is in fact a sacred American tradition of the twentieth century America fought seven worse writers freedoms as we move into the twenty first we are engaged into America has always stood and must always stand for liberty liberty of conscience liberty of religion liberty of speech we are indeed a city upon a hill the eyes of the world are on us in on this great nation and in times of danger and fear I think every American every Seventh-day Adventists every Christian has a chance to show the world the size of our hearts and the importance of the freedom we go in harms way to preserve by our thoughts by our acts by genuine Christian generosity and acceptance of others unlike ourselves we can show the world there is nothing more valuable than the rights of everyone to life liberty and happiness that is the miracle of America it is for our age for this day especially nine years later and for every day to come this country 's gift to the world May God bless each of you and may God continue to bless United States a Lord our Lord how majestic is your name thank you for the the opportunity this morning to review the blessing of living in this the most special of nations may always remind us of your love and your blessing for us may we take that may inspire us and maybe shared with others in Jesus name and


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