The first time I read the statement of one of our nation's founders, then president, Thomas Jefferson, I was deeply moved by the words, and I have never forgotten them. "God who gave us life gave us liberty." Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and His justice cannot sleep forever.
I was a young Air Force lieutenant in flight school making my first visit to Washington, D.C., and the Jefferson Memorial became one of my favorite stops. My main impression from Jefferson's words chiseled in stone is that never again would our citizens need to tremble or fear that our great country would have its foundation and hopes, those stated in our Declaration of Independence, diminished or destroyed, especially from within. Then Jefferson specifically mentions slavery but includes all citizens threatened by the loss of freedom by an unjust government. Other millions see our country greatly flawed and desperately needing transformation. This wide and profound clash of vision has brought us full circle to a similar heated and fervent division not seen since 1776 (War of Independence), 1861 (Civil War) and 1965 (Vietnam).
Can there be any doubt among our thinking citizens that the current "culture war" that heated up in the 1960s has reached a peak previously unknown in our history? The present national conflict, chaos, corruption, combativeness, complaints, competition, coarseness, callousness, confusion and complexity, etc., are the worst and most divisive I've seen in my 89 years of being a proud and grateful American.
Listening intently to the Progressive (the left) and the Traditionalist (the right) makes one a good student of the times. Both groups have their extremists, whom I try to ignore but pray for. I contend that "God-trusters" and listeners throughout our history have presented us a third option. They become verticalists! They are not geared to the temporary times of mankind's imperfection, but to the eternal Rock, the God of the Scriptures. This God, as Jefferson appealed to, was dominant in the founding of our country. All true patriots should ask, "Where is our healing as a nation to come from?"
Again, read the Declaration. Being sold out to the left or right is a manmade horizontal position, limited to the wisdom and power of a fallen mankind. "Nature's God and our Creator" -- the Declaration again -- makes us verticalists. Politically we want to change what's wrong and keep what's right with God's values and help. The bottom line is that we verticalists need have no fear regardless. The Scriptures touch on fear almost 600 times, and Jesus did so at least a dozen times. His word to His verticalists is to obey what He tells us, to fight for the truth, love everyone as He loves you and fear not! Remember, says the Lord, I'm ultimately in charge of you, the world and the future!
H.D. McCarty pastored one of Fayetteville's largest churches for 39 years, served as the volunteer chaplain of the Razorbacks for 30 years and is a retired pilot and Air Force chaplain. Email him at email@example.com.