Wednesday, September 27, 2017

God Versus The Flag - My Personal Journey to Today





In over 70 years, I have never seen or experienced the chaos and divisiveness which has erupted since the 2016 election.
As with many of you, perhaps, as I did, your past beliefs and basic ideas and ideals have been involved, causing you to look back...




The Apostles' Creed was one of the first questions I had...
Why did we recite this in Church but out church was not a Catholic Church...?
I wasn't satisfied with the answer... It meant a universal church?
Then why didn't it say so?
And if it was to stand for a universal church, then that meant to me
God was over all of us, no matter in what facility they worshiped
My opinions and beliefs were starting to formulate...




In early life, I loved God Bless America...
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord...
Then I was told I couldn't pray in school anymore...
I didn't understand...

My pledge of Allegiance to the Flag 
said it was "Under God"
(Some versions don't now...?)

A child who is raised in church, 
and talking about God...and praying...
Didn't understand--why not in school.
Nobody explained...
When I got older, I noticed something strange
Congress was opened with prayer
Sometimes multiple religious leaders 
were there to pray or bless a meal...
Why wasn't I allowed to pray in school...
(and now we wonder what happened to our youth...)


But there was a song that became the National Anthem
it was about soldiers, fighting and safely coming home, free...
That was a good song, but if God was over all of us...
Why not choose God Bless America,
or His Truth is Marching On...
Were we no longer Under God, like even our money said

Then I learned of special interest groups...atheists in particular
who then began to question using God anywhere...

History said that immigrants came to gain religious freedom
but now immigrants, especially certain religions are banned
I believed God was supreme in the world...and the United States...
A Nation Under God...
In my thinking, just like a Billy Graham or a Martin Luther King,
or Mother Theresa, or Moses and so many other men and women who spoke of their love of God...that there was indeed only One God, and some spoke of him differently than I did because of my particular religion...
Yes, I knew that the Bible said that only through Jesus can you be saved..
Rational thought said that my God was a God of Love, and that he wouldn't condemn those who did not know Jesus...
It was the beginning of doubting for me

It was when I began to receive cautionary notes...a minister uncle brought us little pamphlets against Catholics... My mother suggested we stay away from them...
I've mentioned before that in the seventh grade, my two new best friends for all of high school was a Catholic and an African American... We loved each other as friends do...We never thought of any religious differences that we may have had...

I couldn't understand why one atheist could cause so much turmoil...
Schools were no longer allowed to celebrate Christmas or Easter...
No public displays were permitted on the streets...
I didn't understand why I was being penalized for being a Christian
no longer being able to share a prayer, no longer able to celebrate the birth and death of Christ...
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, toys and chocolate
 replaced Baby Jesus
the Crucified Jesus...

Madeline O'Hara

Then when I was just beginning to work on a campus, the government 
declared Separation of Church and State.
For me that meant that no Christian events could occur on campus unless they were sponsored by students (as their home away from home)...
Or other approvals which I negotiated...
To religious leaders with questions about their paying taxes for this State institution, I had no answer other than to point out it was now federal law...

GOD HAD BEEN COMPLETELY ELIMINATED FROM MY LIFE
OUTSIDE OF THE HOME...
This was religious freedom?
Was Christianity the only one being attacked?
Well from an atheist, yes...but what about the rest of America?

But as nearly 40 years on a state university campus flew by
I met many people from different countries, of different colors.
Many became friends; I learned that there was no difference
among that multi-national group...
Some were bad as they chose to be; most were good
Religious differences was not an issue...
Some were Jews, a couple of professor friends,
Indian students and more... Some were Christians, some not...
I could be accused of thinking, they all look alike...
We were a college campus, we were employees, we were students
A group...
College sports were part of that life
multiple races, multiple cultures...became teams...
I was a Christian, yes, but I also was elected to
Staff Council, the Council for Women's Concerns...
I joined and sang various musical pieces 
in a multicultural group of music lovers
God was with me; God was there..

Then One day I no longer felt His Spirit!
It came about because I read a book, something that
contradicted my belief system...
Days were dark; I had pulled away...
Talking to a friend allowed me to consider
I knew the darkness of being without His Spirit
I learned to use the gift of discernment in reading
I didn't want that ever again...

God was there with all races, all nationalities
I never sensed the presence of evil, except through
criminal acts on and off campus... Rape was there, I am sure
Now they call it date rape...
Only one heinous campus crime happened in all those years...

And I had become a member of a society
and happened to be Christian. I lived there
I had a role, a place there...
I fought for staff and women's rights there,
organized conferences, classes, 
to help women and men train for promotional opportunities...

I understood that Christians lived along with others, 
under one God, 
No matter if a different religion was held by some
I began to understand Separation of Church and State
But I never understood the inconsistency in the government
who seemed unable to stand behind their own rulings...
In fact, I had little trust in...government...

Within my family, they knew I worked hard,
continued to be promoted, continued to succeed...
They never knew my friends,
my activities, my professional or personal involvement.
They were busy with their lives, I with mine...
I had become an adult working and living as I chose...
I have gained much sympathy, much empathy
for all women and men who are burdened by just living...
living and trying to survive...
Women's rights were increased...as was minorities
Affirmative Action made us conscious of why we hired 
and made us realize that discrimination was wrong... 
I learned and understood much
Some did not and resented...but still was part of the group, 
striving and trying...working together...

Then it started on campus...A New Administration
Women, myself included, who had entered 
senior administration and a different federal employee classification
were either fired, moved into different positions...
Much happened; I will only say I developed Job Burnout
and was told I had to choose between death and my job
I went on medical leave...and ultimately was fired
although they called it elimination of the position...

Still I wasn't ready ten years later
for a man to be running for President
No, I had never watched the apprentice
knew nothing about Trump...
But I heard this and remembered...
Sexual harrassment, snide remarks,
women's role... I was "on alert"
This man during his campaign was a predator
inciting anger, prejudice, hate
I saw it immediately...others didn't; he was elected
not by popular vote, but through emotional division...

He's still doing it...

His mode of operation:
Deflect the people from his not doing the job
by appealing to emotional insecurities and fears
The majority oppose him now...

So he hits again...
"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."



This is what I think...
The flag is a symbol of unity
People are what it represents
In this case, in the United States...
No matter whether Soldiers, or those who wait for them
No matter what they do for a living
The flag is merely a symbol of the country
 in which Americans live
The flag is not God to be honored above people...
God loves all people and is not 
An Entertainer to be watched for your pleasure
even while some of God's people are hurting...
In the US and all over the world
People have been freed in the country this flag represents,
not just soldiers, veterans...but all people...
And, I thought, the United States was a country,
Under God...
When that country divides over the freedom that the United States
provided for all immigrants that came to find freedom from religion...
Why Now has the United States chosen to allow divisiveness
turning away from why and how immigrants came...
Why now are we saying that God, who reins over all people
has allowed one man and supporters to change 
God's sovereignty over all nations...













God gives us the freedom to worship in many ways
He gives us freedom of choice in all ways...
Yet many people are not equally free...
Why does the flag prevent us from Freedom to Speak/Protest
Why is being Entertained without Disruption
more important than People...

I am again a child trying to understand...
Why is Trump allowed to divide America...
Hitler divided out a specific religion
Trump says there are good guys in 
White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and KKK

God Help us...
Guide us to Your path...
Not the path of a false prophet who uses
your people to incite hate, be prejudice,
and use anger to protest...
May we instead
and perhaps in prayer, silently seek the
Freedom You have granted to all Your people
not just a few... who use your Name falsely...
Let those who feel a need to protest against a government
not just seen as spoiling entertainment for some
but rather as a recognition that one man
is forcing us to assume that people hurting
have no rights under that flag, 
to consider how they are being treated...
And God, please let them see their entertainment is not
more important, no matter what kind of money is involved...
And please explain to me why more Americans watch sports
than worship you...
Was it because the government took prayer out of schools
and children no longer see God in all areas of their lives???
I always am wondering...bear with me, Father God...



I have great sympathy for my Black brothers and sisters...