Prayer Targets: Reagan on Freedom; AHCA; Military Policy; Franklin Graham; Pray Together Sunday
July 05, 2017
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Dear Praying Friends,
Independence Day 2017 is behind us. But just as in 1776, all-out war ensued, it is now up to us to pray and fight to preserve liberty for our children. When President Ronald Reagan gave his famous 1983 “Evil Empire” speech in Orlando to the National Association of Evangelicals, he addressed moral and spiritual issues at home and abroad. The Soviet Union is now gone, but the demons of cruel despotism have morphed like chameleons to empower other tyrants who continue to target America. How they despise our liberty and faith in Jesus Christ. These excerpts are from President Reagan’s speech:
There are a great many God-fearing, dedicated, noble men and women in public life… we need your help to keep us ever mindful of the ideas and the principles that brought us into the public arena in the first place. The basis of those ideals and principles is a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself, is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted.
The American experiment in democracy rests on this insight. Its discovery was the great triumph of our Founding Fathers, voiced by William Penn when he said: ``If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.'' Explaining the inalienable rights of men, Jefferson said, ``The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.'' And it was George Washington who said that ``of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.''… [T]hat shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently after he had gone on a search for the secret of America's greatness and genius -- and said: ``Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America… America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.''
Well, I'm pleased to be here with you who are keeping America great by keeping her good. Only through your work and prayers and those of millions of others can we hope to survive this perilous century and keep alive this experiment in liberty, this last, best hope of man.
I want you to know that this administration is motivated by a political philosophy that sees the greatness of America in you, her people, and in your families, churches, neighborhoods, communities -- the institutions that foster and nourish values like concern for others and respect for the rule of law under God.
This puts us in opposition to, or at least out of step with, a prevailing attitude of many who have turned to a modern-day secularism, discarding the tried and time-tested values upon which our very civilization is based. No matter how well intentioned, their value system is radically different from that of most Americans. And while they proclaim that they're freeing us from superstitions of the past, they've taken upon themselves the job of superintending us by government rule and regulation. Sometimes their voices are louder than ours, but they are not yet a majority. [President Reagan went on to talk about parental rights and responsibility, subsidizing Planned Parenthood (which was undermining families), teen promiscuity, abortion, the absence of morality in the dialogue about sex; he then asks] Is all Judeo-Christian tradition wrong?... And isn't it the parents' right to give counsel and advice to keep their children from making mistakes that may affect their entire lives?
Many of us in government would like to know what parents think about this intrusion in their family by government. We're going to fight in the courts. The right of parents and the rights of family take precedence over those of Washington-based bureaucrats and social engineers. But the fight against parental notification is only one example of many attempts to water down traditional values and even abrogate the original terms of American democracy. Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. When our Founding Fathers passed the first amendment, they sought to protect churches from government interference. They never intended to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself.
The evidence of this permeates our history and our government. The Declaration of Independence mentions the Supreme Being no less than four times. ``In God We Trust'' is engraved on our coinage. The Supreme Court opens its proceedings with a religious invocation. And the Members of Congress open their sessions with a prayer. I just happen to believe the schoolchildren of the United States are entitled to the same privileges as Supreme Court Justices and Congressmen. [He spoke of his proposed amendment to restore prayer to public schools, a bill to prohibit discrimination against religious forms of student speech, Roe v. Wade, infanticide, mercy-killing, the sanctity of human life, the Hyde Amendment, spiritual awakening, Christian values as the bedrock of America’s greatness, and political and social consensus]. All I've talked about is based on a positive view of American history, one that takes pride in our country's accomplishments and record…
We must never forget that no government schemes are going to perfect man. We know that living in this world means dealing with what philosophers would call the phenomenology of evil or, as theologians would put it, the doctrine of sin. [He then spoke of evil, racism, anti-Semitism, civil rights, how America has striven to overcome past evils to keep alight the torch of freedom, for ourselves and others around the world. Then he turned to speak about the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism, communist revolution, the willful ignorance of people of influence to see the evil in totalitarianism, peace through strength, and the “Evil Empire”].
Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness -- pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.
I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority [he spoke of moral weakness and equivocation inside the church]. I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration's efforts, to keep America strong and free... I've always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith…
I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man. For in the words of Isaiah: ``He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increased strength… But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary…'' (Ronald Reagan, Speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983, Reagan Library, see video).
We have gained some ground since Reagan’s day in restricting abortion numbers, nationwide. But Planned Parenthood receives more federal and state taxpayer dollars than ever. It continues to promote promiscuity among teens, undermine families with deceptive tactics to facilitate underage girls obtaining abortions, and now, has been caught red-handed selling aborted baby organs and parts for a profit on a mass scale. God’s people need to understand that we must wrestle for every inch of cultural ground, via prayer and action, if religious, free speech and other fundamental liberties are to be preserved for our children. We must also practice the Call2Fall every day to maintain moral and spiritual purity and power. We daily arm ourselves with the full armor of God – each piece in place (Ephesians 6)—and we must engage in every sphere of culture, especially government, where the slide toward socialism and bureaucratic tyranny has already deprived many Americans of their basic freedoms, especially during the Obama years.
Finally, Congress is out and will return Tuesday, July 11th. Please keep or add these matters to your prayer list:
- The AHCA health bill effort is struggling over thorny Obamacare insurance policies that will continue under the new bill for a period – policies that include abortion coverage. Some states currently receive ACA block money being used to subsidize abortion. Some GOP Senators (among them Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) want abortion coverage and Planned Parenthood funding to remain in the new bill. Still others are not willing to support the bill without more free market-oriented measures). Meanwhile, Obamacare continues to implode, with exploding premiums, overly high deductibles, and few or no insurers from which to choose.
- A new FRC study documents a 76 percent increase in religious freedom violations and a 114 percent surge in hostility toward Christian views on marriage and sexuality over the last three years.
- Secretary of Defense James Mattis intervened Friday to postpone, for 6 months, the July 1 deadline for all the military branches to complete implementation of the radical transgender policy produced by the Obama administration by allowing those who identify as transgender to be recruited into the military (discharges of those who are already in the service were halted last year). Experts say that six months is not long enough for the military to evaluate the impact of the policy on the military’s readiness and ability to fight and win wars. On its face, the policy is a disaster.
- Read Rev. Franklin Graham’s warning for Christians to act while our brief window to do so is open.
- Our friends at the National Association of Evangelicals are sponsoring a prayer event this coming Sunday, July 9th. Like Call2Fall, Pray Together Sunday is urging churches to take time during their Sunday worship service to pray. May God use this for His Glory and may all Christian associations promote such prayer! (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:8)
As always, thank you for praying. And thanks especially to all who took part in the Call2Fall. If you missed it, visit the website, click “Count Me In,” and take time to follow through as soon as you can. While we concentrate on the Sunday before Independence Day, the Call2Fall is something we should all be doing every day, in response to God’s great promise, if we will.