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By Paul Proctor

July 3, 2002

Responding to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to halt the “unconstitutional” practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public school, the president had this to say from the G8 meeting in Canada:

"(The) Declaration of God in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate rights," Bush said. "As a matter of fact, it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence."

OK then -- if our rights come from God and are, as he states, confirmed in the Declaration of Independence, who gave him or any other elected official the right to take them away to fight terrorism, drugs, poverty, crime, hunger, ignorance, disease or anything else? After all, the word “inalienable” means: “incapable of being transferred or given up.” Are we under martial law here? I don’t THINK so. At least not yet…

What about the “God-given” rights of those “suspicious” United States citizens waiting indefinitely in solitary confinement, un-convicted, uncharged and unrepresented by legal council? How exactly does denying the Constitutional rights of the few protect the many? And whom do you suppose the NEW FEW are going to be when the next president takes office and another crisis comes along? The situational ethic and selective justice being applied here by the White House is setting a very dangerous precedent considering the fact that a Clinton or Gore could someday return for another extended stay. One can only imagine what THEIR definition of an “enemy combatant” is.

Although I am pleased to hear Bush acknowledge the reality of Almighty God, I am nevertheless struck by the sheer hypocrisy of a “Christian” president proposing the creation of yet another department designed to undermine the VERY RIGHTS he himself says God gave us, as if conservative tyranny was somehow more honorable and acceptable than liberal tyranny. It seems Americans have become so starved for something to celebrate since the towers fell that we will rally around almost anything heralded before the Stars & Stripes  -- even choreographed illusions of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Just as Esau bartered away his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage, U.S. citizens stand ready and willing to trade their “God-given” rights for government promises, programs, privileges and protections that in no way resemble “one nation under God.”

“And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint… And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.” (Genesis 25: 29-34)

Isn’t this what usually happens between powerful politicians and covetous constituents, especially in time of crisis? We set our president and representatives up on pedestals like idols and pray to them for food, water, health, happiness, knowledge, employment, protection and the blessings of grants, benefits and tax breaks in exchange for our once-precious rights. It’s no wonder they act like gods between elections. We treat them as such. On September 11th, amid the shock and horror of those attacks many of us took Esau’s attitude about OUR OWN birthright as American citizens and cried out to Brother Bush saying:

Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?”

There’s just nothing that excites and empowers politicians more than a needy voter. And with each passing year we, as a people, turn evermore frequently to Washington’s idols with Esau’s words whenever we find ourselves without peace, without prosperity, without an education, without a job, without a cure, without a spouse, without a child or without a home. Ironically, something called “Homeland Security” now poses the greatest threat of all to Americans. But then, with socialism -- the cure is always worse than the disease.

Yes my friends -- It’s a dark day in America when the vast majority would rather live in bondage than risk dying free.

©Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved

Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for News With Views, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at