A private funeral service and interment for former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will be held today in Plains, Georgia. Yesterday, a tribute service in Atlanta made national headlines. It was attended by former President Jimmy Carter, now ninety-nine years old and in hospice care, along with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and former First Ladies Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.
Mr. Carter was unable to speak at the service, so their daughter, Amy Lynn Carter, read one of his love letters on his behalf. Written seventy-five years ago when he was serving in the Navy, it said in part, “When I see you, I fall in love with you all over again. Does that seem strange to you? It doesn’t to me.”
Watching coverage of yesterday’s service, I found myself pondering all that has happened in Mrs. Carter’s ninety-six years of life. Her husband was the first US president born in a hospital. Penicillin was discovered a year after her birth. She was sixteen years old when the first dialysis machine was built, twenty-eight years of age when the polio vaccine was made available, and forty years old when the first heart transplant was performed.
Now my Apple Watch tracks my blood oxygen, heart rate, time spent asleep, respiratory rate, fitness activities, and wrist temperature. Artificial intelligence and advances in genomics are revolutionizing health care.
However, has our morality kept up with our medicine?
Anti-Israel protesters plan to disrupt Christmas tree lighting
The United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine on this day in 1947. The plan would have created an independent Jewish state and an autonomous nation of Palestine, but Arab leaders rejected the proposal. Hamas’s terrorist invasion of Israel on October 7 and the war it started are just the latest consequences of their rejection.
However, as I noted yesterday, many in the West continue to blame Israel for a conflict Hamas instigated. As postmodern relativism has deluded our culture into embracing “post-truth” subjective ethics, millions of people believe truth to be whatever they believe it to be. Consequently, protesters continue to claim that Israel’s response to Hamas’s atrocities is morally equivalent to those atrocities, if not even more “genocidal.”
NOTE: I have written a book on the Israel–Hamas war, which we are releasing as a free digital download. I invite you to get your copy here.
For example, anti-Israel protesters calling themselves “Within Our Lifetime” glued themselves to Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and splashed red paint all over the New York Public Library flagship, causing $75,000 in damage. Another anti-Israel group shut down the Manhattan Bridge on the holiday weekend. Now anti-Israel demonstrators plan to disrupt the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony this evening.
To those who accuse Israel of genocidal crimes against Palestinians (when it is actually Hamas that seeks the genocide of the Jews), consider the story of Yahya Sinwar. He was serving four life sentences in an Israeli prison for attempted murder when his life was saved by brain surgery, reportedly to remove a tumor. He was released in 2011, one of a thousand Palestinian prisoners exchanged for a single Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Twelve years later, he masterminded the October 7 invasion that slaughtered more than twelve hundred people in southern Israel.
“Inching ever closer to the abyss”
Telegraph columnist Allister Heath is right: “There is a fundamental, profound moral and legal distinction between deliberately torturing, raping, and exterminating women and children, and the accidental, tragic death of civilians used as human shields as the result of careful, considered action taken by a law-bound army engaged in self-defense.”
Because so many in Western society are rejecting this distinction, Heath warns, “The world is inching ever closer to the abyss, and Hamas’s stooges are helping to drag us into another dark age.”
The rejection of objective truth and morality typified by the current denigration of Israel and the Jewish people tragically deserves Heath’s warning. We live in a culture where 40 percent of people willfully choose to be ignorant of the negative consequences of their actions. Similarly, multitudes are choosing willful ignorance of the realities in Hamas’s war with Israel and a multitude of other consequences resulting from our escalating rejection of biblical morality.
Why is this situation so dire for our future?
“My grandmother doesn’t need a eulogy”
In his 1967 inaugural address as governor of California, Ronald Reagan quoted the French political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755): “The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principle upon which it was founded.” The “principle” upon which America was founded is the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal” and thus “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
If “truth” is no longer “self-evident” and objective, the equality of all people and the rights that ensue are no longer “self-evident” and objective. And the republic built on those rights is imperiled.
I am praying daily that Americans understand the consequences of rejecting biblical truth and morality before it’s too late. If we admit our spiritual blindness, we can claim God’s promise: “I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground” (Isaiah 42:16). If we admit our spiritual poverty, we can claim God’s provision: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
And when he does, we become the change our culture needs to see.
Rosalynn Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, said at her tribute service yesterday, “My grandmother doesn’t need a eulogy, her life was a sermon.”
What sermon will your life preach today?
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Win McNamee / Staff
Publish Date: November 29, 2023
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
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