"If you break faith with us who die,I learned the poem "In Flanders Fields" when I was in 7th grade, and can still, like most Americans, recite it by heart. Nearly a hundred years after it was written, it is a concise imperative to remember our war dead, and carry forward the battle for freedom.
We shall not sleep..."
What does it mean to keep faith? How do I keep faith with someone who sacrificed their very life - for me, for my own, for mine? I am a Christian, and have been since I was old enough to try to comprehend the universe. It is impossible for me to think about the sacrifices American soldiers have made without knowing it as a very real calling-forth of the One sacrifice that Jesus made when He died to make me free.
And I've come to understand that thinking about it in that way IS keeping the faith with American fighting men all the way down through history. Because without Christ, America would not exist. Because whether our fallen soldiers as individuals were Christians or not - most were Christian, but others were Jewish, Hindu, Athiest, Buddist, Moslem, Pagan, Agnostic - no matter their faith, America never could have, never would have existed at all had Jesus Christ not risen from His grave for us.
It is because of this that America IS and always has been a Christian Nation. I include Israel in the list of "Christian nations" because Israel as a nation would not exist if it were not for the Christian nations that demanded its creation as a modern political entity to restore the ancient homeland to Jewish people everywhere. Christianity is the extension of God's relationship with us that began with Adam and continued through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through the twelve tribes of Israel.
Only a Christian nation will allow complete freedom to hold and practice any faith. No nation that was not majority Christian in its basis has ever existed that affirmed true Freedom of Religion.
Only Christian nations allow you the freedom to Think For Yourself and follow your conscience. Moslem nations demand that everyone born into a moslem family must remain moslem. You are not allowed to be an atheist in Afghanistan. All such nations discriminate against anyone who is not moslem. Communist nations promote atheism and hereditary succession. Where they allow churches, it is by license under control of the State and they are not real churches but propaganda arms for the State.
No nation that was not majority Christian in its past has ever promoted Freedom of Speech to hold and share one's honest opinions about government leaders or religion or the police or anything else. This freedom is under attack now, in great part due to the fact that it is incredibly rare in the world. Many Americans do not know that the United States of America is one of the last bastions of Free Speech anywhere. Europeans no longer have free speech: when they gave up Christianity, they started imposing laws prohibiting the people from saying particular words or discussing particular subjects. Our media is attempting to push us in the same direction, and we must stand against it.
No nation that was not majority Christian in its governance has ever legally and morally protected Freedom of the Press to report the truth without fear. Un-Christian nations jail, torture and execute reporters who dare to publish anything that looks bad for the leader, the party, the prophet, the god. This freedom is under attack now, but the fact that everyone outside the Obama Administration is outraged by abuses highlights how important all Americans still understand this to be.
No nation that was not majority Christian in its legal philosophy has ever existed that applied the Rule of Law to its highest, wealthiest, most powerful citizens along with provision of legal mercies for the least and the poorest. This primacy of existing law is also under attack right now, and needs robust defense: no one is above the law in America, and no one can be if our nation is to survive.
No nation that was not majority Christian has ever adopted equality at birth of ALL people as its first creed. Without Jesus Christ's mandate for personhood, all non-Christian countries who have attempted this have not succeeded, but eventually devolved into classist societies in which heredity privileges the few at the expense of the many.
No nation that was not majority Christian has ever abolished slavery in all its forms. Oh a few are making noises like they will do so now, but that is only because the still-Christian-majority Western nations are pushing them to do so in this age of World Bank Remittances. Some like to beat America over the head for the hateful practice of human slavery that existed before the civil war, but this was never a practice accepted without conflict and in the end, the devout and ancient interpretation of Bibilical and Christian scripture won out.
The slaver governments of the Barbary States declared war on the United States at our beginning, and America sent the Marines to the shores of Tripoli to put an end to the kidnapping and enslavement of Americans like Robert Adams on the seas. We keep trying to declare peace with such agents of evil but they keep declaring war on Christian Civilization again.
It was Christians who led the fight against slavery in Europe and in the United States. Today, it is still Christians and nations with a majority Christian heritage who lead the fight against slavery. Today, involuntary human bondage is still actively practiced in legalized and tolerated forms in almost every nation that does not have a Christian heritage. Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China, India, Pakistan, and nearly every moslem nation are all examples of modern nations that continue to tolerate active slavery. Open borders policies and refusal to demand adherence with our laws only aggravate this by opening up transportation avenues to the modern slavers and their vile partners.
No nation that was not majority Christian has ever managed to establish governmental systems that are not based on bribery and patronage, but that put everyone in the same line for the same services under the same rules. This is a very simple way to keep corruption out of our government. Every so often, we have to clean house and imprison some governors and representatives and senators, but for the most part, the American system is free of outright individual graft.
We have only to look around at the remains of those places that have never been Christianized, or that were overrun by any government that is not Christian, to understand what the world would be had Jesus Christ not come and saved the world.
So, I try to keep the faith with our hallowed dead by trying to keep The Faith. To stay in touch with God, to follow Jesus, and to practice Christian Americanism. What is Christian Americanism?
To Keep Faith is to pray in public, not as a way of showing off or being "holier than thou", but as a way of humbly helping others know they are not alone, that "it is good, and right, and our bounden duty to give Him thanks and praise".
To Keep Faith is to think about the consequences of silence, and to be willing to speak up - and to use words that mean what they have always meant. To say that abortion is evil, and those who promote it are engaging in evil. To call the brutal dismemberment of babies in their mothers' wombs a holocaust. If you have had an abortion, or led others to do so, and you now understand the truth, please come now to our loving Father God, ask for and accept forgiveness.
To Keep Faith is protect young men and women from the abortionists' seduction by cultivating the true knowledge that Babies are Good. To rejoice in every pregnancy and cheer for each mother-to-be, no matter her age or circumstances. To renew the holy & natural understanding that babies and happiness go together.
To Keep Faith is to pray for courage and words to preach the Gospel of Jesus where ever I am, at work or at play, in public or in private, to try to use my voice as a Christian to offer Jesus's own redemption to all, and thus give others the choice to want it. To tell those who were deceived, and who now repent that they ARE forgiven.
To Keep Faith is to learn to be quick to forgive, and not to ever try to "get back at" anyone for any reason. To never allow myself personally to get away with gossip or revenge. To treat with special loving care anyone I am tempted to hold a grudge against.
To Keep Faith is in working hard to be sincerely ethical in spirit as well as in "the letter of the law". To "be no respecter of persons" - not just to outwardly treat everyone the same, but to inwardly care just as much for everyone. To try to be good to people who are not members of my party or faith or family, just as I am to those who are. To try not give one better service because I am intimidated or impressed by them. To try to go out of my way for the meek who will not ask. Not to suddenly be a stickler for rules as a way of getting back at someone who was annoying to deal with.
To Keep Faith is to refuse to hand out political favors, or political punishments. To not be impressed or led by celebrity or wealth. To pray for the courage to think for ourselves, without regard for popularity, and to stand up for what we believe.
To Keep Faith is to take responsibility through our own free will, not under compulsion from the mob or the government. To know that whatever it is, it is our job to do without needing permission or reward. To accept our own consequences. That is ultimately the heart of America: the freedom to make our own decisions, and to try to do so in ways that enable others the moral health to make their own decisions, too.
To Keep Faith is to try to protect our own little part of America against any threat to the peculiar American liberty that respects EveryMan as his own governor, king of himself.
To Keep Faith is to Choose for ourselves - and not demand others like our choice. That is American freedom in a nutshell: not to accept the default false-choices of the latest political marketing campaign, but real choices. The choice to do better or not, to become better or not, to change my own life, to make my own living.
In America, just like in Christianity, that means we do not have to be defined by our past or our ancestors or our race or our income or anything else. That we can start over, that we can freely choose a new path toward our personal best.
That is Christian Americanism. And that is how we keep faith with those who died, that we - and those Americans who come after us - might live free.