Uploaded on Jun 16, 2010
The questions Lewis is responding to in this video are:
1. How many tea parties have you attended?
2. Although most comments on the video are very positive, some have expressed that, based on what Herman Cain said from the stage, and your singing the Anthem's fourth verse, the message was given that non-Christian people are not welcome at Tea Parties. How do you respond?
2. Many of the comments on the video essentially are: "Christians and other religious people should stop pushing their religion on us in public, keep it to yourself" How do you respond?
On a Sunday afternoon I took the drive, with two of my daughters, to Douglas County, GA, to spend some time with Lewis. He was funny, sincere, thoughtful, and remarkably transparent. I asked him many questions, heard the remarkable story of his journey from tragedy to peace, and was profoundly blessed to experience the spiritual power of his native, rare talent. He is able, with no mechanical props and no preparation, to use the greatest of all instruments, the human voice, with raw beauty I have never experienced.
Many assumptions have been made about Lewis, the marine who stunned a tea party crowd, and, thanks to the web, massive numbers of people across the world, with his intense rendition of our national anthem's fourth verse. The three minute video has been, in its own right, something of a cultural crucible, provoking wildly divergent reactions and assumptions about Lewis, the Tea Party movement in general, the relationship between religion and politics, and more. With Almost 10,000 comments made on the video, it that many have formed hasty and inadequate assumptions of Lewis and the Tea Party.
I had never met or even seen Lewis as I filmed that day, but like the others I had my own assumptions about him. I won't say what they were, because, as I met him for the first time, I realized they were wrong...
I've been involved with the Tea Party movement since the beginning and, as far as I remember, Lewis is the most devout Christian I've met. The fact is, the Tea Party movement is not and never has been about establishing any religion into our political system. But neither is it hostile to religious expression among citizens in or out of political office. The Douglas County Tea Party, the day Lewis first sang, was probably 97% free of explicit religious content, not because they were politically correct, but because they provided a platform from which all types of expression could freely flow, and the speakers said what they wanted to say. It is not freedom, if religious speech is censored.
An a fortiori argument can me made from the attitude Lewis has concerning those whose religion or philosophy differ from his: if the most devout Christian Tea Party Participant is so loving towards those who are different, how can the rest be bigoted and intolerant? No, those who would tell Lewis to sit down and shut up because of a "so called' separation of Church and state are the ones who should be ashamed for being heirs to the intolerance of men such as Vladimir Lenin:
"Religion must be declared a private affair. In these words socialists usually express their attitude towards religion. But the meaning of these words should be accurately defined to prevent any misunderstanding. We demand that religion be held a private affair so far as the state is concerned. But by no means can we consider religion a private affair so far as our Party is concerned. Religion must be of no concern to the state, and religious societies must have no connection with governmental authority. Everyone must be absolutely free to profess any religion he pleases, or no religion whatever, i.e., to be an atheist, which every socialist is, as a rule. Discrimination among citizens on account of their religious convictions is wholly intolerable...Complete separation of Church and State is what the socialist proletariat demands of the modern state and the modern church... Either you are sincere, in which case you must stand for the complete separation of Church and State and of School and Church, for religion to be declared wholly and absolutely a private affair. Or you do not accept these consistent demands for freedom, in which case you evidently are still held captive by the traditions of the inquisition...And in that case the class-conscious workers of all Russia declare merciless war on you."
Vladimir Lenin, Socialism and Religion
America, we are far down the road to socialism...help us force the ship to make a u-turn! Reclaiming our Judeo-Christian heritage is an important part of that effort.