I'm interrupting my series on Common Core State Standards for public schools to join the appeal to Iran and North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae. And I'm also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action, stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of these godly men, whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.
For those who haven't followed the news on these men of the cloth, pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years by an Iranian court last January for starting house churches in the 2000s, an era in which they weren't even regarded as a threat to Iran's security.
This past week, Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of pastor Abedini, was in Washington appealing to Congress because President Obama severely dropped the ball by negotiating nuclear energy for Iran without seeking a simple reciprocating act of goodwill by the release of pastor Abedini and two other American hostages: former marine Amir Hekmati and patriot Robert Levinson.
The Obama administration also hasn't done diddly to seek the release of Kenneth Bae in North Korea, a Christian missionary based in China. Bae gave tours into surrounding countries but in November 2012 was arrested by North Korean officials and found guilty of "'hostile acts' and attempts to topple the government," according to CNN.
Bae was sentenced to 15 years hard labor and "recently became the longest known American detainee in North Korea since the end of the Korean War," according to International Christian Concern and persecution.org.
What value or use is it if America embodies freedom and liberty, yet its government does nothing to fight for its imprisoned freedom fighters around the world?
The fact is that doing nothing to release U.S. citizens imprisoned abroad not only drives the dagger deeper into their and their families' hearts, but it emboldens crooked and controlling governments around the world and cripples America's future generations. It defers and heaps a greater burden upon our posterity to fight for America's freedoms and even enjoy risk-free travel in the world.
Speaking of touring other countries, my wife Gena and I were overjoyed to hear about our granddaughters recent journeys abroad. Our granddaughter Chantz just returned from a 10-day trip to China, where she was given the opportunity to experience another culture and practice her skills at speaking Mandarin Chinese, which she has studied for the last four years. (Not too bad for a 13-year-old!) And our other precious granddaughter Hannah will be making her third trip to India over Christmas to do missionary work, which she started as a junior in high school.
All of the actions of those mentioned in this article wouldn't be possible without our patriot predecessors securing America's freedoms and our place in the world. And the similar actions of those in the future will become progressively restricted if we don't stand up now for those same liberties, especially when they imprison our very citizens in foreign lands.
Edmund Burke was right; "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."
Well, if our present government won't fight for ours and others' freedom, then America must call up its most mighty reserves and real power: We, the people. We must embolden and equip our families and our younger generations to be ambassadors of freedom and faith.
Do you remember our young friends, twin brothers Brett & Alex Harris? They are the ones from whom we first heard about the powerful personage of Gov. Mike Huckabee. They have been on the frontlines of battle for the Millennials since their teens. I spoke about them extensively in the chapter "Calling all Millennials" in my New York Times bestseller, "Black Belt Patriotism."
Brett and Alex are now 25 years old, married, and their book, "Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations," has sold nearly 450,000 copies and been translated into over a dozen languages. Their website, TheRebelution.com, was completely redesigned in May of 2012 and continues to reach tens of thousands of young people each month. And their social media presence has grown to over 43,000 followers and continues to come up with fresh ways to reach teenagers with the challenge. Check out this latest post on their Facebook page to read about a 13-year-old who could change the way you view all 13-year-olds.
The Harris brothers' book would make an exceptional Christmas gift for young people. I would humbly consider pairing it with another humor-based outreach book that could empower youth, too: my own "Official Chuck Norris Fact Book," which includes many inspirational stories on faith and freedom for future generations. Or an even better option might be my good friend and prolific author Randy Alcorn's brand new graphic novel (extended comic book) titled, "Eternity." It's a perfect gift for the young people in your life.
To empower and transform young people, please also look into the amazing missions of Gena's and my foundations KickStartKids, Young Americans for Liberty and Rachel's Challenge. Together, we can start a chain reaction!
Friends, if we are ever to change the course of our country and world, it will be by supporting and uniting behind young people like these who can and will restore and lead America into a brighter and better future.
Speaking of children born for positions of destiny, let us all humbly remember -- especially at this time of the year -- what I, Gena and all who were mentioned in this article, believe fully in our hearts. That the real solutions for our world, our country, our families and ourselves will not be ushered in through government or even human potential. But the cures for society and our souls will come ultimately only through our reuniting with the Child, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas and through whom real hope and change comes.
About him, the Bible says,
For to us a child is born,/
to us a son is given,/
and the government will be on his shoulders./
And he will be called/Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,/
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6
Don't miss my Christmas article next week, "The Case for Christmas," in which I'll explain the rationale or reason in the reason for the season. It's definitely one you might want to forward as a "Christmas card from Chuck Norris"!