When I was a little girl, I loved Halloween.
I loved Halloween because I could dress up and run around town and get candy.
I was afraid of witches and nasty monsters, but I wanted to be a princess or a ballerina or even a cowgirl, depending on my mood.
However, as the years went by, there became more and more hoopla about the evils of Halloween and how demonic it was and I had to decide where I would land with the whole thing.
My kids loved the Ninja Turtles and I have no idea why. We didn’t watch them nor did I buy them. There were warnings about the rat mentor in the cartoon who taught transcendental meditation, so I was not on board.
However, every time a Ninja Turtle character was present at a garage sale, my kids were hollering for one.
I finally realized that they neither knew nor cared about the rat or his TM belief system, they just wanted to play with those cool characters that had great ninja moves!
I caved in and for years bought them Ninja Turtles and have yet to see any of my adult kids trade in their faith to sit on a mountain in the wilderness, emptying their brains while chanting, “ommmm”.
I can remember a couple meeting with us one time and telling us how satanic Christmas trees were. When I asked them why they would think so, they responded that ancient druids or celts or whoever, danced around them as some ritualistic pagan ceremony.
O.k.? I told them that I actually put one up because they are beautiful, traditional and full of light and since Jesus was the light of the world, maybe this could be a good thing to remind us of Him.
The bottom line is that I have had to learn and continue to learn how to live in this world and not be of it. How to redeem that which is good and leave behind the bad.
What is the heart issue behind our actions, our spending, our celebrations? Isn’t that what Jesus told us mattered?
All that being said, I move on to Veterans Day, the American flag and America itself.
I get that there have been slaves in America and so the land of the ‘free’ was not all inclusive for some.
However, not every founding father was a slave owner and not every American stood for owning them. Many fought hard and long to set slaves free. Some of my ancestors included.
This however, did not discredit the words “all men are created equal” no matter who wasn’t upholding them.
I acknowledge that there are those who would disallow and persecute those who want freedom to worship in their own way.
This doesn’t undo the fact at all that our country was founded by those who came here to have the freedom from a tyrannical king and those who opposed their right to freedom to worship in their own way.
I get that there are racists and some are in positions of power. Some are even cops.
However, we still have due process and checks and balances in place to prosecute those who treat others unjustly.
But despite the fact that there will always be those who abuse power, those who will oppress others, etc., we still have a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence that stands for freedom and equal rights for all humans.
People misusing or refusing to abide by either one, is not a reflection on the principles that were laid out in them but on the people who do not abide by them.
I can love and follow the Bible despite the fact that there are those who will use it to control, hate and abuse others all the while doing it in the “name of the Lord.”
That doesn’t make the Bible wrong, but the people who misuse it.
So, what is good and what can I honor about our country and the veterans who have defended it?
Why can I stand for the flag that represents them?
In America this is what I have:
I have freedom to worship and meet with fellow believers without fear of being thrown in jail.
I have freedom to vote.
I have freedom to a fair trial and am not guilty until it is proven.
I have worked alongside and under people of all races because of equal opportunity.
I have had a president who was half black and his wife who was fully black. I have seen a woman run for president and almost get elected.
I have seen minorities in sports, entertainment and careers that make more money than I will ever see in my lifetime.
I have seen people in poverty be given the chance for an education and rise to the top in fields that few of us will ever see.
I have seen our military defend our freedoms throughout our history.
I have seen our military defend other countries as well.
I lived in the east for a time and saw the encampments of our soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Imagine in the dead of winter, marching until your worn boots fell off in brutal cold and the frostbite froze your feet so bad they turned black? Bloody, starving and sick, they marched so that you and I would not be controlled by a king who was going to tax us into poverty and force us to go to his church.
We all may gripe about presidents we have or have had but let me tell you, being subject to the rule of Hitler, Hirohito or Mussolini would have been no walk in the park for any of us.
Think about boys barely out of high school, signing on to take on those monsters when most of them had been raised in rural America minding the family farm. They went to foreign countries to fight an enemy that not only wanted total control of them and their families but would delight in torturing them as well.
I live in a community that took in prisoners of war and they were fed, clothed and treated with dignity. If you want to know how our soldiers who defended us were treated, read “Unbroken” about Olympic competitor and soldier, Louis Zamperini and you will get a small taste.
We can thank our soldiers for having our back on those and many other fronts.
It is funny that many complain about America but people still want to come here and few want to leave despite their threats.
I was a student at KSU, when Iran had taken American hostages and was parading them nightly on television to humiliate them and terrorize us.
During my time there, Iranians on campus were getting an education in our school as they set up booths in our student union decrying their hatred against cruel America.
Because we are America, they had the freedom to do that.
My room mate at the time was half Iranian and her father had come to America to get educated as a brain surgeon. She was embarrassed and offended by the actions of her father’s people since her family was so grateful to be in this land of opportunity.
So, all this to say, I am a Christian first and I will always stand for Jesus. I am not ashamed of the gospel, the cross and my Savior. He alone is faultless and flawless.
I will stand for my national anthem and the flag, not because it is flawless but out of respect for those things which it stands for and has stood for that are good, right and just.
Happy Veterans Day and inasmuch as we honor Him, may God bless America and any other nations that choose to do the same.