Jewish World Review May 8, 2003/ 6 Iyar, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The Divine, man, war, and leaders | The new archbishop of Canterbury is testy. In a rollicksome victory of church over state, Dr. Rowan Williams told Prince Charles how the cabbage is cut, or the scone is buttered, or whatever metaphor the Brits use when someone lays down the law. The bonnie prince has asked, when and if he becomes King Charles, that he not be crowned "Defender of the Faith" but rather, in a wave of the scepter to multiculturalism, "Defender of Faith." The Canterbury bishop issued a firm, "No!" and this tale, ". . . like it or not, [he is] Defender of the Faith and has a relationship with the Christian church which he does not have with other faith communities."

Bloody good for the archbishop. For five centuries, Britain's monarch has been "Defender of the Faith." The title and faith of the Anglican church have allowed Britain to survive wars, plagues, mad cow disease, and Diana.

PC (Prince Charles) whines that Britain is a multiethnic, multilingual, multireligious, multigender, multimistress country and, therefore, "the" offends. Britain attracts immigrants because its stalwartness draws those who live in lesser conditions and amoral societies. These immigrants leave deprivation of body and soul for the benefits of an Anglican-based, Stoic society. Oddly, upon arrival, they demand that the essence of the culture that drew them there be changed because its tenets offend. They want religion exorcised from the nation's history. Such cuts gut its strength.

More than just trite political correctness rears an ugly head here. Demands for correction of phraseology, surgically altered history, and isolation from faith put future generations at risk. Without an understanding of faith's sustenance, they are doomed to wobbly knees. Lacking faith's fortitude, they will suffer a leadership void.

Buckingham Palace may be marching toward nihilism, but #10 Downing Street's occupant has had his Damascus. In a compelling piece in The Times Magazine on Prime Minister Blair and the 30 days of the Iraq war, Mr. Blair acknowledges he experienced strain, saying "it really gets to you." He reveals that faith sustained him.

At the start of the war, Mr. Blair wanted to close his broadcast speech with "G-d Bless You," but his advisors protested, "You are talking to lots of people who don't want chaplains pushing stuff down their throats." Mr. Blair acquiesced in his advisors' demands, referring to them as a "most ungodly lot."

But, when the Times reporter showed the prime minister a chart that depicted the number of lives lost each day of the war, Mr. Blair's unleashed his restraint, "I am ready to meet my Maker and answer for those who have died as a result of my decisions." The archbishop of Canterbury has an elected Defender of the Faith to make up for a quiche prince.

This pressure to nix religion or reduce it to Pablum is not unique to the mother country. The United States has its own crown princes of atheistic and agnostic idiocy. In the days leading up to the war, the NPRers and Washington Posters stewed and fretted that Mr. Bush was dangerously close to the G-d line. They complained mightily about his state of the union address including, "The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is G-d's gift to humanity." They clucked when Mr. Bush called Saddam "evil." Martin E. Marty scolded in Newsweek, "The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing G-d's will."

Such worries evidence a void in studies of religion and history. Punditry theories aside, G-d pretty much does side with the downtrodden and their defenders. Patrick Henry's stirring speech included, "There is a just G-d who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends. . . " G-d generally doesn't give aid and comfort to despotic maniacs with collections of pornography and orders for torture. He's no respecter of persons, but He does have a soft place in His heart for children. Seeing them in prison tends to bring Him around to the air craft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

Faith is a longstanding component of leadership, particularly during war. FDR on evil: "The world is too small to provide adequate 'living room' for both Hitler and G-d." Lincoln spoke of "this nation, under G-d" and worried that America was becoming "too proud to pray."

Rod Dreher, writing in National Review on U.S. military chaplains, quotes one serving in Iraq, "Evil definitely exists. What we are dealing with in this situation is evil." Another adds, "Courage is really fear that's said its prayers." G-d, faith, war, leaders and victory are inextricably intertwined. Balking at the thought does not make it less true.

So, as future kings denounce faith, textbooks eliminate references to religion and our Maker, and courts seek to take Him from the pledge of allegiance, an archbishop, a prime minister and a president have reminded us of Providence. Strike faith from the printed or spoken word, but it remains etched in heart and soul. When the going gets tough, the tough need G-d and faith, not generic multiculturalism with a heaping side of moral relativism acceptable to demanding, but diverse atheists.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


04/28/03: Dixie Chickens
04/22/03: "Squaw"king over a peak
04/16/03: Pulling the old Johnnie Cochran
04/07/03: The other casualties of war
02/27/03: War and principle
02/20/03: Diabolical women
02/14/03: Deadhead poets and society
02/07/03: Misguided compassionate conservative
01/31/03: The Wisk "fix it!" mentality
01/24/03: There are only two types of people in the U.S.: Trial lawyers and their clients and those who have had to pay trial lawyers and their clients
01/16/03: "My ex is a minority, so I deserve special treatment"
01/07/03: Why libs will never have a Rush Limbaugh
01/02/03: The year that was
12/26/02: Capital offenses, power and Harry Potter
12/20/02: Mundane superlatives cause trouble
12/09/02: Let the sacking begin
12/05/02: Amazing Grace that saved me from my CO2 emissions
11/27/02: Free speech, Harvard, and First Amendment looneys
11/25/02: Eminem culture
11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
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10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
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09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
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08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
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07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
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05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
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04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
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03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
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01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
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05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
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04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
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10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
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09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
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08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
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07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
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07/07/00: I wanna be around
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06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
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04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
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03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
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02/01/00: The demise of marriage
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12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
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10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
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06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings