The heart of the matter
In response to SDN’s article, “Politics and the pulpit,” (SDN Feb. 9) with local pastors taking different sides as to what role politics play in religion, and vice versa, I would offer the following comments. In ancient Hebrew there were two words concerning Israel’s identity, ‘Am Israel and Eretz Israel. Eretz meant the nation and ‘Am meant the people. When Israel ceased to be a nation in 539 B.C., and the people were led into Babylonian exile for 70 years Eretz was not to be found but ‘Am was. The people lived on until they could return to their land, rebuild the temple and start their Commonwealth Era. When in 70 A.D., the Romans sacked Jerusalem, burned the temple, murdered more than a million Jews and started what was known as the diaspora which lasted until Jewish Zionism resulted in the State of Israel’s origin in 1947, the Jews were without a nation, but they were always a people. Where was the nation politic of Israel when there was none? Where was the religion of Israel when there was no Temple? It was in the hearts of the people.America finds itself involved in Babylon (present day Iraq) already for more than 70 months. During this time, we find ourselves trying to figure out why and what to do. Should we continue at war and if so why? The rhetoric runs from weapons of mass destruction and terrorism to oil and self-preservation. While unlike ancient Israel we still have both our nation and religion in tack we are in jeopardy of missing the forest for the trees in terms of what is the true reason for our existence as a nation and a place where the exercise of religion is practiced freely.The power of our purpose as America comes from neither our politic nor our pulpits. The power of our purpose and reason for being comes from the American people themselves. We are ‘Am-ericans. People whose hearts carry the real reason for our existence. And what is it we carry in our hearts that is so unique? In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace cries out with his last breath, “Freedom!” That is what ‘Am-ericans have to give the world. It’s not our plethora of religion tolerance. It’s our freedom. What history will say about our involvement in Iraq will be favorable only as the Iraqi people come to carry within their hearts the same freedom which is the foundation of all that we believe, legislate and preach.
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