In 2012 we must make a big decision. Do we choose Socialism, do we choose to follow in the footsteps of our nation’s founders, or do we consider other options? Since there are over 300 million of us, and we will each make our own choice, we will probably choose a path that has no ideological purity. When tyrants do not rule, such is the nature of compromise.
Yet when old men look at where they are, they look back wondering how they got to that place. Then, even when they are soon to pass away, they look ahead. Therefore, Harold Estes wrote his letter, and I linked to it here (regretably, the authors have deleted Voting American.) and here (See PEARL HARBOR DAY).
When I linked to Estes letter, one commenter said that Estes grossly distorted our president’s words. Sadly, I do not think so. Yet the possibility is worth considering, and of course, somebody has. About.com has this article, Harold B. Estes Letter to Obama, for example. So let’s consider the matter here.
” We’re no longer a Christian nation”
About.com posts ‘The President Without a Country’ by Pat Boone. That links to The president without a country by Pat Boone. Oddly, if you google Boone’s op-ed, “The president without a country” pat boone, About.com’s and Snope.com’s (here) articles pop up at the top of the search list. Like as not, since Boone’s article appears to predate Estes letter, Estes got this line from Pat Boone’s article.
However, this article, Obama: America is ‘no longer Christian’, actually addresses the source of this first quote. So what is wrong with the quote. Some have left a few words out, supposedly with nefarious intent. Here is the “complete” quote from Obama’s inaugural address.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. (from here)
Or perhaps it is from an interview with a Christian broadcaster.
Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. (from here)
Supposedly, that “not just” makes everything okay.
”America is arrogant”
MediaMatters blames this one on a certain talk show host, Hannity truncated Obama quote to claim it was an example of “blame America first”. What is funny is that Hannity plays the portion of Obama’s speech he “quotes.” The “quote” comes from this line in one of Obama’s apology tour speeches.
In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. (from here and here)
”America is mean-spirited”
The quote comes from that time before Obama entered politics, when he was at Harvard.
“Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,” Obama said. “I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.” (from here)
Here is a different version.
“We’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous.” — May 1990, quoted in article while attending Harvard Law School (from here)
Of course, Michelle Obama shares similar views.
“America hasn’t lived up to her ideals”
With this “quote”, Estes apparently refers to another line in the Barack Obama apology tour.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. (from Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University in Egypt, June 4, 2009)
Did Harold Estes grossly distort Obama’s words? Well, if you want to nitpick, I suppose he did. However, when I read the letter, I did not take the quotes as literal. I understood Obama would not be so stupid as to say exactly those words. In fact, without the help of Liberal Democrats, I would never be able to figure out exactly which words Estes misquoted.
Obama in fact:
- Does not believe America is a Christian nation.
- Has gone on what most Conservatives regard as apology tours. If he is not apologizing for our “arrogance”, what is he doing?
- Is trying to transform our country and make it what he says is less mean-spirited.
- Has spent all kinds of effort blaming his predecessor for one thing or another. I think it safe to say Democrats did not think George W. Bush lived up to their ideals.
There is a deliberate effort by the Obama administration to transform our nation. “Transform” is Barack Obama’s word for what he wants to do to America — to the American people. I can only speak for myself, but I do not think much of what Obama and Democratic Party wants America to become comports with Christian values. What Estes did is express his legitimate objections to Obama’s efforts to transform us. Nitpicking over “quotes” will not make those objections go away.
Of late, this year-old post has received a lot of traffic. It occurred to me wonder why. Reading the post again, I realized I had said nothing about Harold Estes. So I searched the Internet.
Hawaii Loses a Great Patriot – Harold B. Estes, U.S. Navy (ret.)
BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. – Harold B. Estes and many of his peers are part of a generation that is known as “The Greatest Generation.” Estes, a World War II veteran credited with helping bring the USS Missouri and Bowfin museums to Hawaii, and who gained Internet fame with a letter written to President Barack Obama telling him to “shape up and start acting like an American,” died Tuesday May 17, 2011. (continued here)
Read the report on Estes death. If you like video, here is another, Memorial service honors veteran and Navy League organizer Harold Estes. The man was more than just that one letter he wrote.
Communications Student (English is not my first language) Very interesting. the statements and the outcomes of your “debates”. As I read this I just thought on how we, humans, just like to disagree, and as a result, fight. Im not so much on the Christian faith living side, I so think the values that the scriptures teach are a very good way to live life, ultimately those religious ways refer to live a life in peace with oneself and others aswell. I dont believe in forcing anything into anyone. I get annoyed when teachers give religious oriented sermons in clases, except if they are making an objective point with the example. If the examples come from students, im ok with that since that promotes debate, learning and progress. As I do not know as much as many of you probably do about USA politics and political and religious history, I wouldnt feel confident enough to comment on this matter. I studied in a military academy in the USA, so besides the classes in my country about USA and the ones i took at the academy i couldnt say i know deep history of USA. I come from a catholic family, christian values were imparted to me by my family and I am an atheist, but i try to respect every religion, even if i cant understand why they do whatever they do. I take the best out of every religion i know about. We are corrupt, yes. And we all think we are right, yes.
John – Thank you for your comment.
I believe there is a certain amount of wisdom in what you say. I also think that much of what you say betrays your youth and a good understanding of the Bible.
We all tend to think we are right. Because we have difficulty putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, we cannot easily empathize with other people. So the fact you do not feel it right to force your opinions on others shows both a respect for your own limitations and the rights of others.
I was also raised in a Christian family. Like you I respected Christian beliefs, and I adopted Christian values. Nonetheless, I did not take this Jesus thing seriously. I did not know the Bible well enough, unfortunately.
If you are an atheist, I doubt you have studied the Bible. In fact, I doubt you have given much serious thought to the subject of religion. What an atheist believes requires inherently more faith than what a theist believes. Whereas a theist may find it difficult to establish that God exists, the atheist has no conceivable way of proving God does not exist.
Youth and ignorance are nothing to be ashamed of. Youth is not even a problem. Ignorance is a problem, but it is a correctable problem.
Please check out Ravi Zacharias’ website: http://www.rzim.org/.
Because i find them thoughtful, I enjoy listening to Zacharias’ radio broadcasts. Perhaps you will too. What I expect you will find particularly relevant is Zacharias’ skill in rebutting the arguments for atheism. In fact, his latest broadcasts are on that very subject.
Tom, you assert that the US is a “Christian Nation” can you cite any legal presidence that upholds your claim? Or is this merely your opinion stated as FACT? I am guessing you are unfamiliar with article 11 of Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary of 1797? “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797. it was published in it’s entirety in newspapers nationwide and NO ONE PROTESTED it’s reference to the US as a non-Christian nation! Perhaps you are WRONG sir and our forefathers never envisioned a “Christian America” rather an America full of Christians, Jews, Muslims and what-have you all living together free to practice and believe as they wish without the government intervening. You want kids to have a “Christian education” you have every right to pay to send your children to one of those schools … just not on MY dime.
Kenneth – I am familiar with 11 of Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary of 1797.
The founding document of the United States is the Declaration of Independence. That says our rights come from God, and that is why our Constitution says so little about God.
Freedom of religion as practice in the United States is a Christian concept. Slavery ended first in Christian nations. You really think that an accident? Then I have to doubt that you have studied the Bible and history without bias.
I really do not have high expectations of government. That is because I have read the Bible. Check out Ecclesiastes 5:8-9. Every human institution suffers corruption. It is naive to expect otherwise.
alfundo – In a previous comment I said that the Bible was written for us, not to us. Apparently, I did not explain well enough. Here is the problem. When the Bible was written, neither of us were alive. So the people who wrote the Bible, even though they were inspired by God, did not write the Bible to us. They wrote to their contempories. However, because the Bible’s writers were inspired, the Word of God holds great meaning for us. You just have to read the Bible, study some history, and ask God to help you understand.
Create other gods? I do not know what you are talking about, but I suppose if you read only one or two verses you can imagine the Bible says whatever you wish. Nonetheless, when you actually bother to study it, the Bible is quite clear. There is only one Creator. We created the other gods, and the Bible says those other gods are of no use to us.They cannot help us or save us from anything.
What is the point of nitpicking? Can you find fault with the Bible? Not really, but our understanding is limited. So we can perceive wrongly, but with further study we slowly correct ourselves. That is why those who study the Bible the most have the greatest confidence in it. Can you find fault with me? Yes. I am a Christian; I already know I am imperfect. I have already admitted I need a savior, and that savior is Christ Jesus. He redeemed us all. Will you accept the gift of His sacrifice? That is the question that should concern you, but whether it does is up to you.
“alfundo – The Bible was not written to us.”
“The Bible was written to people who lived thousands of years ago.”
It seems you contradict yourself as regularly as the book you refer to. The god of your book ADMITS to other, competing gods. If he is the creator and strives for absolute power, why then did he create other gods?