In the shadow of Coretta Scott King this past week, there stood four men who have taken the highest oath one can take in America – to protect and defend the Constitution and the citizens of the United States of America. The two elder ones of the four were in large part disappointments to the nation – for different reasons – and they served only one term each. The two younger ones were both returned by the voters to the White House.
The contrast between the two kept me awake late last night.
Here in one of Atlanta's largest churches where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, five hours would go by intended to celebrate the life of the first lady of civil rights: Coretta Scott King.
What's that about good intentions?
When a longtime civil-rights leader not only showed bad taste but utter ignorance in asserting that the War on Terror was being fought under false pretense, the predominantly black audience went crazy. They also cheered wildly when the assertion was made that we should not be wiretapping our sworn enemies who wish to kill us. And yet another cheer went up when the assertion was made that redefining marriage to include homosexual unions was something Dr. and Mrs. King would have embraced.
All of these were intended as slaps to the current president who was sitting not 10 feet from the pulpit. And more importantly, none of them were true.
On top of it all, when William Jefferson Clinton was introduced, the place again went wild.
Now I don't know what type of gospel they're preaching in Atlanta today, but that's mighty messed up.
Here you have George W. Bush a committed, born-again Christian, who repeatedly gets beaten up in the press ... and for what? Sticking to his biblically based beliefs that morality is non-negotiable. Marriage should not be redefined. The most innocent among us should be given the gift of life. He is repeatedly assaulted on editorial pages for believing that marriages should be strengthened, and kids should have the right to expect that their teachers will teach them how to read. But more than anything else, he fundamentally believes that radical fascists in the form of Nazi-like Islam should not have the right to threaten – worse yet, kill – more Americans. To his credit, on his watch since 9-11, they have not been able to, though now we have learned that they attempted to some 10 times since.
Two seats down from him sat former President Clinton. A man who sought to bring down standards as they related to homosexual activity in our nation's military. He did not seek effective responses to the minimum of three related major terror attempts against American interests on his watch. He did not seek to strengthen the education of our youth, the safety of the womb, nor the sanctity of the home. And worse yet, when he should have been meeting with military advisers to adopt effective strategies against al-Qaida, he was instead being "serviced" by interns in the "people's office."
Yet to the churchgoers gathered to commemorate Coretta King, the one who makes a laughingstock of his faith, cheats on his wife, advances the cause of the most unbiblical of behaviors, and was too busy "gettin' busy with it" to defend his nation got a rousing ovation that lasted for minutes.
Everyone focused on the comments that were uttered by Rev. Joseph Lowery and former President Carter, but those were easy enough to see through. The telling deception was in the treatment of a good president who spends his waking hours asking God for wisdom in what to do next, and the treatment of the former president who seems to live as though God is the last thing on his mind.
How embarrassing, how sad, how pathetic.
If this is the temperature of the nation in our struggle against Islamic fascism – much less the measure of our will for morality today – we indeed are a nation deserving of not just our removal of God's favor, but actual destruction.