- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In times of crises, America’s greatest leaders exalted a moral compass to guide this nation. Amid the scorched deliberations to resolve the so-called financial crises of today, persuasive arguments lighted by a national morality are seemingly absent.

What obviously is at stake, but nearly forgotten, is that a nation’s economic standing is inextricably tied to the freedoms accorded the very individuals who constitute that nation. This is no time for political expediency and partisan rapaciousness. For example, was “the invisible hand” mocked or revealed in the Oval Office last week, when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson used bended knee and hands in prayer to seek approval of the Bush administration’s bailout plan?

Our Founding Fathers spoke of the role that religion played in shaping a national morality long before George Washington was elected president. Washington himself spoke of undeniable providence regarding the birthing this great nation. “No people,” Washington said in his April 30, 1789, inaugural address, “can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the [a]ffairs of men more than the [p]eople of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Leaders at the forefront of what were inarguably two of America’s most profoundly troubling times placed the need to seek resolutions in moral and prayerful context. When these United States warred against each other during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln rightly urged all Americans to partake of the first National Day of Prayer. “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” Tellingly, he said this amid the war to save the states: “I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”

During the Great Depression - that historical benchmark used by Republicans and Democrats alike during these trying economic days - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed America’s conundrum for recovery by positing his New Deal in moral principles: “We shall not succeed in solving [the problem] unless the people of this country hold the spiritual values of the country just as high as they do the economic values.”

Another American statesman, Frederick Douglass, once said: “A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.” May today’s leaders follow “the invisible hand” that holds the moral compass. God bless America.

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