My 72-year-old mother had a hip replaced last summer but that didn't stop her from hopping on a plane to attend Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in the nation's capital. After spending Friday evening in Virginia, she boarded the Metro for Washington, D.C., pulling her luggage behind her. Emerging from the subway, she fell in line with a crowd climbing a steep Metro escalator that had stalled. That's when she answered my phone call.
"How you doin' Mom?" I asked. "Oh, I'm excited! I'm really looking forward to this," she said. "Where are you Mom?" I inquired. "I don't know," she replied. "You don't know?" I asked nervously. "Oh, I'm somewhere in the city. Betsy (her friend from church) and I are in the middle of a huge crowd making our way to the rally with our luggage in tow," said the intrepid activist. "OK, Mom, have a good time! Love you, Mom."
Later that evening I turned on my computer to see what took place at the Lincoln Memorial. I was surprised at the nature of the reports. The headline of a New York Times article read, "At Lincoln Memorial, a call for Religious Rebirth." Several lines into the story, the reporters wrote, "The event had a feeling of a large church picnic, with people, many from the South and Midwest, sitting on lawn chairs and blankets." Politico reported, "At points, it felt like a mixture of old fashioned tent revival and a special (tamer than normal) episode of Beck's show."
I called my mother to see if the stories were accurate. "Mom, what was the rally like? What was the tone?" I asked. "Beck's speech was primarily all about God," she said verifying the news reports of the giant Tea Party. There wasn't any focus on politics. It was about recognizing God."
The first Tea Partiers dumped tea into the Boston Harbor in December 1773 to protest British rule. Responding to Britain's intolerable treatment of the colonies at the First Continental Congress nine months later, fiery Virginian Patrick Henry said, "The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more." I am not a Virginian but an American."
What is an American?
I think this is the issue that Tea Parties need to address. Political strategist James Carville helped Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign focus by coining the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid." Our economy is falling apart not for a lack of focus---there's certainly been enough of that, too much. The economy is falling apart because our leaders don't seem to understand the relationship between God and freedom, including economic freedom. The most important word in the entire Declaration of Independence is "Creator." An American is someone who understands that it is the Creator who endows us with the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our Constitution was put in place to safeguard this uniquely American principle. In America, our rights are God-given, not government-given and government-controlled. America will succeed when we restore the "Creator principle" of freedom. Beck got it right on Saturday. The key to restoring America is to humbly focus on God and to understand the nature of the rights He gave us.