It’s not unusual for us to host some high-profile guests at The Heritage Foundation. Congressmen, senators, cabinet secretaries and other officials pass through our halls almost daily, and it’s always an honor to welcome them. But we got a special treat recently when another kind of celebrity came to visit: Pat Boone.
That’s right, the Pat Boone. What an incredible career he’s had -- a teen idol who enjoyed enormous fame and went on to sell more than 45 million records and star in more than a dozen movies. Just the mention of his name is enough to evoke a simpler time in America, when jukeboxes poured out songs clean enough for every member of the family and parents who sent their kids to the movies worried only about them eating too much candy.
Yet it wasn’t mere nostalgia that brought Pat to Heritage. You see, Pat has always been much more than just a terrific entertainer. He’s been very involved with political and social causes over the years, and it’s plain to anybody who has followed his career that he cares deeply about our country and what it stands for. He even campaigned actively for a California governor you may have heard of: Ronald Reagan.
Pat knows it isn’t enough to believe in America’s greatness. To be a true patriot, we must keep a watchful eye out for the dangers that would threaten that greatness. As Pat told the audience at Heritage:
“Long ago it was prophesied by objective observers that America was too strong to be defeated by outside forces, but it could someday rot and crumble from within and go the way of all the other great nation-states, succumbing in the slime of selfishness, greed, immorality, and abuse of its own freedoms.
“It’s happening all around us. Our valiant ship of state is listing, springing dangerous leaks in vital places, threatening after only 230 years to sink into the abyss of history. Fellow citizens, we won our first revolution under God; now, because of the inroads that have been made already against many of the values we hold dear, I call for a new revolution.”
Why would such a revolution be needed? According to Pat, the problem can be traced to an “unholy trinity” that grips our society: godlessness, immorality and humanism. We can’t evict God from the public square, turn a blind eye to drugs, violence and promiscuity, and expect a harmonious state of affairs. It simply doesn’t work that way.
But don’t just take Pat’s word (or mine) for it. Take the words of Ben Franklin (who, as Pat noted, was certainly no religious fanatic): “Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom; the more corrupt and vicious a society becomes, the more it has need of masters.” Or consider something said by William Douglas, one of the most liberal justices who ever sat on the U.S. Supreme Court: “The First Amendment does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of church and state. That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise, the state and religion would be aliens to each other -- hostile, suspicious and even unfriendly. We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”
Unfortunately, too many judges have read such hostility to religion into the Bill of Rights -- hence Pat’s call for a “revolution.” It’s time, he said, “stand up to these invaders, root them out, overturn their unconstitutional rulings, and reestablish our republic that represents not just all its citizens, but our traditional morals and guidelines.”
Mind you, Pat is doing more than just issuing the call. He may be past what some refer to as “retirement age,” but he’s still very active -- not only singing (of course!), but penning a weekly column for WorldNetDaily and serving as a spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, a group for seniors that approaches issues from the same conservative view long championed by Heritage: more free enterprise and less government red tape. 60 Plus President Jim Martin is a good friend of Heritage and does a marvelous job leading a group that offers an alternative to those “tired of the AARP.”
Pat also has a wonderful new book out, “Pat Boone’s America.” Billed “a pop culture journey through the last five decades,” it presents a fascinating retrospective of Pat’s career -- and charts the moral freefall of our society. “If enough of us care, and act on it, maybe just maybe we can find our way home again,” he concludes.
Please take a few minutes to read Pat’s speech in its entirety, and then e-mail it to everyone you know. May the revolution he calls for begin!