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2010 Vision

"2010 Vision" Continued...

Issue: "2010 The Year Ahead," Jan. 16, 2010

Franklin was 69 when he returned home, but the revolutionary cause also received support from a 19-year-old Frenchman, Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette. Orphaned at age 12, Lafayette disobeyed an order from the king of France and made his way to Spain and then to the United States, where the Continental Congress-tired of "French glory seekers"-delayed his commission. Franklin, though, wrote to George Washington and recommended that he make Lafayette his assistant. Washington agreed and became like a father to Lafayette, who in turn became a key leader in the independence effort.

Today's young Lafayettes see the problems of London-like Washington, D.C. Some of them are signing the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, which now has over 300,000 adherents (www.manhattandeclaration.org). More are pledging lives, fortunes, and sacred honor every day. The declaration also has historical grounding: "While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages, we claim the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire's sanctioning of infanticide."

As the inclusion of "Christian" in the declaration's title indicates, it's not for everyone-but it does appeal for support from others who also prefer liberty to Caesar's dictates. For example, the declaration notes that "restrictions on the freedom of conscience or the ability to hire people of one's own faith . . . undermine the viability of the intermediate structures of society, the essential buffer against the overweening authority of the state. . . . Disintegration of civil society is a prelude to tyranny."

The year 2010 may well be a crucial one in the struggle against tyranny. The temptation will be to focus on politics, and the battle for Congress this year will be important, but the deeper questions are theological and cultural: We won't get far if we just stay at the surface. The crucial decision for each of us to make: Is "personal peace and affluence" (to use Francis Schaeffer's term) our purpose in life, or is it (to use the 364-year-old Westminster phrase) "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever"?

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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