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In 1954, the American Legion sponsored a series of network television broadcasts called "Back to God." On one of those national telecasts, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appeared from the White House. He thanked the American Legion for urging Americans to acknowledge God in their daily lives.
Then the President said, "As a former soldier, I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they (the veterans) learned a great truth, that there are no atheists in the foxholes."
Can you imagine this happening today?
The President humbly referred to himself as "a former soldier." In truth, he was one of only five Americans to earn the rank of five-star general. He was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe in World War II. He and General George Washington are undeniably the most widely admired soldiers in American history.
Fast forward to 2013. An Air Force chaplain at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska, wrote a column for the base website. Keep in mind that Lt. Col. Reyes is a chaplain. He titled his column: "No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II."
His look back at the contributions and sacrifices of chaplains on the battlefields of World War II quoted one of America's most beloved soldiers and Presidents, Dwight Eisenhower. Now, that sounds like pretty safe territory for a military chaplain to tread, doesn't it? An officer whose job is to provide spiritual comfort and guidance to his troops remembering the sacrifices of other officers who provided spiritual comfort and guidance to their troops on the battlefield? And basing it on a quote from one of America's greatest soldiers and Presidents?
Folks, this ain't 1954 and that ain't your Daddy's Oldsmobile!
Chaplain Reyes was reprimanded for the column and his base commander publicly apologized for not stopping him from discussing religious subjects on the base website. What was the chaplain expected to discuss? Automotive repair tips?
So what has changed since 1954? Lots of things, obviously, but two stand out: 1. These are the last days. 2. Mikey Weinstein.
You probably remember Mr. Weinstein from previous programs. He heads the benignly and misleadingly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation or MRFF. (A more appropriate name would be the Military Freedom FROM Religion Foundation.)
The MRFF protested the chaplain's column and within five hours it had been removed from Elmendorf's website.
Apparently no place or venue is safe from Mr. Weinstein's near-omnipresent gaze. He's the guy who publicly called a Christian service member sharing his or her faith "spiritual rape." He has labeled Christians "monsters," "terrorists," and "enemies of the Constitution."
Who cares, you say? He sounds like a nut! Well, I agree, but President Obama doesn't. In fact, Weinstein has become the Administration's go-to guy on topics of "religious tolerance" in the U.S. military. Which sounds about par for the course these days -- pick someone who has NO religious tolerance to advise the brass on religious tolerance.
Just a few short decades ago, our national leaders actually promoted faith in God and the inclusion of God in the life and fabric of the nation. You see, they faced the specter of an opposing world superpower who sought to eliminate God and vest His authority in the State.
They understood that America's strength lay in her citizens' belief in and obeisance to an authority higher than man-made government: the Divine Creator. That freed us from the doubt and indecision and fear that pervades when the conduct of our lives is determined solely by whoever is in power at the moment.
It's a short and undeniable principle: Man changes. God doesn't. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or brain surgeon to figure which of the two will provide a more stable national environment.
On August 21, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sat together, with hundreds of sailors and marines, at a church service aboard the HMS Prince of Wales in a harbor on the coast of Newfoundland. They sang the hymns of the church and drank in the strength provided by a mutual spiritual heritage and faith in a common God.
Later, Roosevelt told his son that the service "cemented us" for the dark days of World War II that lay ahead. Churchill wept during "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and later remarked that, "Every word seemed to stir the heart. It was a great hour to live."
It brings tears to my eyes just writing these words. My friends, that is a world that is long past.
In Britain today, fewer than 10% attend religious services, and a majority of those are Muslim. Now, the number one choice for a baby's name in the UK is "Mohammed."
In Luke 18:8, Jesus Himself asked this question: "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Some studies show that atheism will replace "religion" as the dominant spiritual practice by 2041.
I personally don't worry too much about atheism because every man and woman has an innate awareness of God. But I do worry about the church. Will we become so desperate to attract people to our pews that we'll modify and water down the message of the Gospel? Perfect examples of this are the liberal denominations that have become like empty sepulchers. And now it's happening in many evangelical mega-churches.
At the rate we're going, and if the President and his party get their way, I'm not certain Jesus will find faith in the military when He returns. Likewise, I doubt He'll find faith in the ranks of academia or even in the lower echelons of our educational system. It appears that faith is in achingly short supply in the entertainment business already. Government, at least on the federal level, has already declared its independence from faith and conscience. Many believe that business, especially Big Business, turned its back on God long ago and worships only at the altar of the dollar.
So where will Jesus look for faith when He returns? In your heart and mine. That's why, no matter what happens in the world around us (and it's happening fast and furiously), stand confidently on the firm foundation of God's immutable promises to us. "Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." (Ephesians 6:13, NLT)
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, The Word Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com. Please check your local listings.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: This is the 400th edition of "The Hal Lindsey Report." We are available in more than 200 nations and territories around the world and in more than 90% of the homes in America because of God's grace and your generous support. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your faithfulness in standing with me as a "watchman on the wall" during these critical times. I pray daily that God will bless you abundantly for your sacrifice and generosity. Only eternity will reveal the harvest that you have made possible by your prayer and financial support. I thank you and bless you in God's name.