The Friends of the National World War II Memorial recently announced the charity had received a $2-million grant that will allow the inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer on the memorial site.
We comfort ourselves, saying, “This is not who we are.” But without deeper reflection, such pat answers are lies, strengthening the “vulgarized knowledge” that allow us to ignore the chasms that threaten to consume us.
History turned a corner with the birth of Jesus Christ, and while the written reports of that event don’t tell me everything I want to know, they do tell me everything I need. The Gospels occupy a kind of center point in human culture as a whole: products of a particular time and place, but comprehensible to all.
As we start to look at this whole Christmas phenomenon, it makes sense to begin with the basics. The first questions any sensible person asks about Christmas are pretty straightforward: What event is this holiday supposed to commemorate, and do we know that it actually happened?
Christmas alone is perfectly congruous, for Christmas brings to the surface those imperishable values for which men in all this struggle of power are really groping. It focuses men’s thoughts, at least for the moment, upon the secret of ultimate power.
At a time when some challenge the morality and religious character of America’s first founders, the plain facts of the 1620 Mayflower Compact, a theologically informed social compact for believers and non-believers alike, remind us of the good seeds planted in our shared past.