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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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8/01/2004

Kerry's Sleeveless Faith 

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.


I knew that Ron Reagan's words would come back to us. I didn't think that John Kerry would quote him in his acceptance speach.

I was personally a bit irritated at Ron Reagan for his obvious politicizing of his father's funeral. But it was his dime, he could do what he wanted -- even though I wonder what his dad would have said. I know that Democrats all over the nation stood and cheered what Ron said -- even those who were secretly pleased that his father was gone.

Kerry's faith card will appeal to the folks who would have voted for him anyway. People who think that religion is for Sundays, but that it has no place in public life. Kerry's faith has given him values to live by, but not to influence society with. He has hope, but not hope to share with anyone. He's said before that he personally opposes abortion, but won't follow his personal values when elected. He has a personal Jesus, but not a very practical one -- or a public one.

This is what people mean when they talk about wearing religion on one's sleeves. They want faith to stay put, and not influence society. That may work with some faiths -- Buddhism, for example, or some forms of Judaeism. Christianity is an evangelical faith -- evangelical in the braodest sense of the word. It is meant to be spread, by preaching and teaching, converting and baptizing. That is what Christ's final command to us was all about -- Go, preach, teach, and baptize. In Acts, we read His words: "You shall be witnesses ...". We will be witnesses of Him, either by our actions or by our inactions. Wearing your faith on your sleeve means that you will be a witness by your actions -- by your words, your deeds, your faith in action on a daily basis. Andrew Fuller understood this over 200 years ago. John Kerry hasn't figured it out yet.

Your faith may be sleeveless, Mr. Kerry. True faith, the faith that the martyrs died for, the faith that built the Church, the faith that Christ expects from His followers, has sleeves.


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