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Whose darling?

"Whose darling?" Continued...

Issue: "The Haiti quake," Feb. 13, 2010

People who receive cheers from speechifying can come home with self-disease. God provided three antidotes. Susan and our four sons popped my bubbles. Editing WORLD every week reminded me not to put my hope in political princes. The ministries I witnessed around the country reminded me of how Christ changes lives as He had changed mine.

One day I drove 70 miles south from Austin to the Alamo, where 300 white-, black-, and brown-skinned men and women walked back and forth with signs proclaiming "Because of Jesus I Am No Longer a Burden to Texas Taxpayers" and "Thank You, Jesus, for Saving Me From Addiction." They were demonstrating against an attempt by TCADA, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, to pull a substance abuse treatment license from Teen Challenge of South Texas.

Teen Challenge's crime was not hiding its belief that "man's separation from God" leads to "compulsive deviant behavior engaged in to fill the void of meaninglessness in life." TCADA saw substance abuse as a medical problem, but one grizzled man helped by Teen Challenge offered his testimony in front of the Alamo: "I was a junkie for 13 years. I was a thief. I went to the government programs. They didn't work. Jesus set me free."

I was never an alcoholic or a drug addict. I had been addicted to the self-enthronement that is atheism and its major political manifestation, Communism. Jesus had set me free. I wrote about the demonstration in The Wall Street Journal and in WORLD, asking readers to send cards and letters to new Texas Governor George W. Bush. Soon a call came my way from the governor's mansion: What's going on? What must we do to be saved from this onslaught?

As we talked, Bush got it right away, helped by his own experience in leaving behind sometimes-heavy drinking. He instructed his state bureaucracy to help rather than hinder faith-based community service groups. He established a task force to recommend legislative changes. He did not seem ashamed of the gospel. He spoke of how Jesus had changed his life.

Plenty of political heartbreak was yet to come: The vicious campaign of 2000. The tragic twisting of compassionate conservatism in the Bush White House. More grant-making centralization instead of more individual liberty. Washington pork instead of frugality. The Republican Congress' wasting of opportunities to create new alternatives in healthcare and other domains.

But in August 1996, George W. Bush was embracing compassionate conservatism. Bill Clinton, under political campaign pressure, signed into law welfare reform. My 20 months of academic leave concluded with a sense of satisfaction that, through God's grace, I had worked hard and helped to accomplish something-without walking away from Christ to whom I owed everything. Susan and I had 20 years of marriage and our children were thriving. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Read other episodes in this multi-part biographical series.

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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