One of the great distinctions between Christianity and other world religions is the fact that, for Christians, time is not cyclical, but linear – there’s an Alpha and an Omega. Because of that, history matters. What came before us affects not only us, but those who come after us.
That’s why history is so important to me, personally. That’s why, if you hear me speak at an Alliance Defending Freedom event, or if we have the chance to enjoy conversation over a dinner table, you’re probably going to hear me say something about George Washington, or Dwight Eisenhower, or one of my other favorite heroes from America’s past.
But not all of our heroes are of yesterday. We are so blessed, as Americans, even in – especially in – these often fractured, contentious days, to enjoy the leadership and the legacy of outstanding men and women whose courage, whose vision, whose ability to articulate our deepest beliefs inspires us and inspires others to stand tall and speak thoughtfully for religious freedom.
For several years now, Alliance Defending Freedom has been giving special recognition to people like these through the Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty, which we present each fall to individuals who demonstrate a profound understanding of, and a public commitment to defend, an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.
Previous winners of the award are former Attorney General Edwin Meese III (with whom I had the privilege of serving during the Reagan administration), federal appellate judge Robert Bork, and, last year, Dr. Robert George and the late Charles Colson, who together wrote the Manhattan Declaration in defense of religious liberty. This year, we presented the award to Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia (see Updates, p. 17).
These men are personal heroes of mine, extraordinary men of remarkable character and enduring accomplishment. I have watched them across many years, in briefing rooms and church services, at podiums and press conferences, across conference tables and office desks. They’ve stood for the enduring truths of the Bible and the Constitution in the teeth of punishing political winds and changing currents of the legal culture. It is a wonderful privilege to honor their example, to shake their hands, to benefit from their profound wisdom and endurance.
The “Alliance” of Alliance Defending Freedom includes these men – and all those who came before and will follow us – who stake their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” on their bedrock belief in America, and bring unswerving devotion to the cause of defending her freedom. ★
John 15:5 ★ Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.