Friday, February 01, 2008

A City on a Hill

Two nights ago was the last Republican debate before "Super Tuesday" on the 5th. The debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with the wife of the late president, Nancy Reagan, sitting right in front. The debate asked the usual generic questions which elicit the same stump speaches from the candidates. Until the end, when it was asked of each of the remaining candidates, "why would Ronald Reagan endorse you?"

Both Mitt Romney and John McCain gave the expected lines on lower taxes, strong military, blah, blah, blah. Ron Paul talked about how he had Reagan's support in his campaigns for Congress and how he supported Reagan for governor of California. But Mike Huckabee, the former minister, spoke last and didnt' talk about policy or politics. Instead he talked about the inpiration Reagan gave to America.

He was set up from the start. A former minister, asked if one of the most openly religious presidents in our lifetime would support him. And Gov. Huckabee started out alright, discussing hope and patriotism. But he never said those words that I was sure he was set up to say. Quoting Reagan, paraphrasing Jesus, the dream of an America that is a City set on a hill, a light to the world. A statement, a vision, that inspires hope in a better America, a more peaceful world. Reagan said it in the context of the Cold War but it would still apply today in the context of the War on Terror. An attitude that America can be better than it is. More righteous, more hopeful, more prosperous.

But while Gov. Huckabee touched on all those points, he never said those words. "A city set on a hill cannot be hid." (Mt 5:14) I guess it's ok to talk about faith and religion in states like Iowa or South Carolina, but not in California.

And for those who say there is no place to quote the Bible in a campaign--heaven forbid we mix religion and politics--here are some quotes from Reagan himself, a man who before allowing doctors to proceed in a surgery to save his life after being shot, would not ask for God's healing hand before first forgiving the man who shot him.

"I've always believed that there is a certain divine scheme of things. I'm
not quite able to explain how my election happened or why I'm here, apart from
believing that it's a part of God's plan for me. "

"God has a plan for each one of us. Some with little faith and even less
testing seem to miss in their mission, or else we perhaps fail to see their
imprint on the lives of others. But bearing what we cannot change and going on
with what God has given us, confident there is a destiny, somehow seems to bring
a reward we wouldn't exchange for any other."

"We have it within our power to begin the world over again. We can do it,
doing together what no one church can do by itself."

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