Thursday, June 20, 2013

Defining Moments At Brandenburg Gate

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When John F. Kennedy spoke at Germany's Brandenburg Gate 50 years ago, it was a defining moment. He won the hearts of Berliners and Germans everywhere when he said, "ich bin ein Berliner"---translated, "I am a Berliner."

That speech was given June 26, 1963, a little less than 2 years after the Berlin Wall went up.

When Ronald Reagan spoke at Brandenburg Gate, that too was a defining moment. In his speech on June 12, 1987, he told then Soviet leader Michail Gorbachev, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

The result of his speech brought freedom to millions of people and helped lead to the end of the "cold war" and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

About 3 years later, I was in Berlin too, along with other ministers, to hold an outdoor Christian service in what had previously been "East " Berlin. An activity that would have gotten us arrested months earlier.

While there, I watched people tearing down "that wall" with sledge hammers, picks and tractors. I have a piece of "that wall" in my office.

Candidate Obama requested permission to speak at Brandenburg Gate in 2008. The German government denied his request. He spoke at an adjacent park to over 200,000 people.

This week, President Obama finally spoke at the Brandenburg Gate. About 5,000-6,000 people attended, many were invited government workers and, of course, the press.

While the President spoke of disarmament and peace, many saw the repeated attempt to advance the homosexual agenda as his defining moment.

While the President spoke at the Gate, there were those in the streets of Berlin carrying signs which read, "Yes We Scan" and others that read, "I have a drone".

The Germans are understandably sensitive to the NSA scandal and surveillance on the public.

Disarmament---particularly relating to nukes, was part of the President's Brandenburg speech. He emphasized liberty and freedom, but it was his repeated reference to the homosexual agenda that many felt was his defining message.

He said, "When we respect the faiths practiced in our churches and synagogues, our mosques and our temples, we’re more secure,” Obama said. “When we welcome the immigrant, with his talents or her dreams, we are renewed. When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well. We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness.”

He continued, “We know from our own histories that intolerance breeds injustice, whether it’s based on race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, that we are stronger when all our people, no matter who they are or what they look like are granted opportunity and when our wives and our daughters have the same opportunities as our husbands and our sons.”

Interestingly, these comments affirming the homosexual agenda come within days of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and California's Proposition 8, both of which have far reaching effects on our culture.

And his remarks about religious liberty and freedom come at a time when the Obama administration Department of Health and Human Services is defending its mandate that all insurance cover the cost of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception in lawsuits from numerous Catholic dioceses across the country, religious schools, hospitals and other institutions, as well as privately owned businesses.

Indeed a defining moment.

In Ireland earlier this week, the President told his audience there should not be Catholic and Protestant schools "because such schools cause division."

Apparently he feels the religious right to teach children the distinctives of our faith and the theological basis for morality along with math, reading, history and other academic subjects, is no longer a freedom, but an act of divisiveness.

Are we suggesting a government approved national or world religion would be a better choice? A choice that would eliminate conflict and usher in a time of peace and safety?

God help us.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.