After expressing the difficulty in expressing condolences to the widow of a fallen soldier, Kelly opened up his heart. What America saw behind that podium was not a politician or even a General; we saw a patriot – a man who loves his country and every man and woman that puts on a military uniform.
He said, that he, “... was stunned … and broken hearted” that a member of Congress would listen in during “a phone call from the president of the United States to young wife” of an American soldier. Kelly went on to say, “You know when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country.”
Kelly mentioned four things that were sacred when he was a child – women, “life – the dignity of life,” religion, and Gold Star families. Kelly is correct – when he was a child, these things were sacred. God also places these things on a pedestal of honor.
God tells husbands that their prayers would be “hindered” if they do not give “honour unto the wife” (1 Peter 3:7). Think of how profound this is; how much God will listen to a man is directly related to the honor and respect he gives the woman in his life.
Being born in the 1950s, as Kelly was, I remember the respect women were treated with when we were kids. Women would wait at a door for the man with her to open it. I was about ten years old with my dad when he held the door open for a woman, and she said, “Go on in, I’m fully capable of opening the door.”
Dad’s response was classic, “When was the last time you saw the President open his own door? It’s a matter of respect, not capability.”
Dad drilled into me as a child to never hit a girl or woman. If she hits you, you walk away, if she has a knife – run away, if she has a gun – hide, but under no circumstance ever hit a girl. The “never hit a girl” speeches I heard as a child – believe me, I heard it more than once – were to teach me a broader philosophy of honor and respect for the opposite sex. I was to honor my future wife by remaining a virgin until the honeymoon; I was to respect her by honoring my marriage oath to her by never cheating or leaving, I was to honor her by being the type of man my wife would never want to leave, and always to hold open the door.
LIFE – THE DIGNITY OF LIFE
We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Humankind is the only species in the universe with this distinction. We have soul, spirit and body, just as God does. Respect for human life shows honor to God.
Parents of the ’50s and ’60s taught their children the taking of life should only occur in extreme circumstances; to avoid the taking of another life – self-defense or war – or as punishment for murder – capital punishment. Life was sacred. Life is becoming less revered in America. The city of Chicago is the best example. Through Oct. 19, the 290th day of the year, there have been 557 murders in Chicago in 2017. That’s 1.91 killings a day.
Religion, or the public worship of God, was expected back in the day. However, today the proper thing to do is keep religion inside the home or church. Cross-shaped memorials to veterans are ordered removed by court order. Manger scenes are absent from the town square. Athletes now “take a knee” in protest instead of prayer before games. God said, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Lies, gossip, cuss words are all examples of people not bridling their tongue. As four letter words abound in American speech these days, God says this makes our religion vain. Kelly is right. Religion is no longer sacred.
GOLD STAR FAMILIES
For those who do not remember, starting in World War I, families would display a flag with a blue star for everyone in the household that was serving in the military. When a soldier died in action, the star changed from blue to gold. There is no greater love than laying your life down for someone else (John 15:13, Romans 5:7-8). American men and women have laid down their lives for their country and fellow countrymen. Their families deserve a place of respect. By disrespecting the American soldier, we show dishonor to those who have died serving their country and any disrespect to them is a slap in the face to the families they left behind.
Is there anything sacred anymore?
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his sermons can be found on SoundCloud.