By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall speak of them when you are at home, when you travel, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Deuteronomy, Chapter 6
On a cold night, I saw more than three hundred people at the December meeting of a Tea Party group in Elmer by Routes 40 and 55. None of them seemed less than 50 years old.
We at Liberty and Prosperity often ask ourselves, “How can we get young people at our meetings?” We use flyers, Facebook, and Twitter, but nothing seems to work.
Many young people volunteer for food bank and Habitat for Humanity projects that supposedly help the poor, but which in fact advance or enable government policies (like not enforcing immigration laws) that keep people poor. Others show up for events to promote “green” energy programs, that pad our electric bills with extra charges, and give obscene profits to a handful of insiders in big government, big unions, and big corporations.
Why don’t they care as much about liberty?
We often blame public schools and colleges that force-feed our kids with big-government/anti-liberty ideas and values. We complain about the distorted, left-wing content of so many newspapers and TV programs–and in the pop entertainment culture. We can’t do much else.
But there is one thing that we can and must do. We can and must learn the unique history, values, and ideas of American liberty well enough to have them in our hearts. Then we can and must teach them to our own children-and our grandchildren, nieces, and nephews every chance we get. What better time than now, when we spend so much more time with them during the holidays?
When we are with our kids or grandkids–in the car or at the dinner table, why not ask if they know any Bible stories. At some point make sure they know the story of how the ancient nation of Israel was created by a covenant or contract between God and man at Mount Sinai. If not, tell them how the ancient Hebrews promised to obey God Jehovah and follow his Ten Commandments. And how God Jehovah, in return, promised them a good life in a land “overflowing with milk and honey”.
Explain that the Old Testament of the Bible is a collection of stories that tell a thousand years of history. It tells how the ancient people of Israel prospered when they followed those laws, but suffered one disaster after another when they did not. And why parents were commanded to personally teach those laws to their children.
At some point, make sure your kids know that Abraham Lincoln was a great President, who ended slavery and saved our nation. And don’t forget that Abraham Lincoln often compared America’s Declaration of Independence of 1776 to the ancient covenant between God and Israel at Mount Sinai. According to Abraham Lincoln, our nation was “conceived in liberty” when we declared our independence by holding these truths to be “self-evident”:
We are all created equal. We are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, we institute governments, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Teach your children how America was blessed with peace and wealth when our government followed those principles and made and enforced laws and collected taxes that were fair, simple, and applied equally to everyone.
Teach them how America was cursed with four years of a civil war that killed 500,000 American men, when we did not. At his second inauguration, Abraham Lincoln called that war God’s just punishment for a nation that let whites own, buy, and sell African-Americans as slaves for 250 years.
Warn your children of what will happen today if we again ignore the self-evident truths written in our Declaration of Independence. As you scramble to buy presents during this Christmas season, take a few moments to think of how to give your kids and grandkids that same precious gift you got from your parents and grandparents–the gift of American liberty. . . and its companion, American prosperity.
Think of what you must learn and know in your heart. And what you must do. And how and when to teach these things diligently to your children.
(Reprinted from December 22, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers Atlantic & Cape May Counties)