2This phrase in the preamble of the United States Constitution often is quoted but deserves reflection. Who are "We, the people?"
Then and now, "We the people" are those persons who came to the shores of what is now the United States of America seeking a better life than what they had experienced on distant shores. "We the people" are those who wanted to be under a government that was not corrupt nor self-seeking.
They desired freedom to practice their religion and beliefs without persecution and coercion. They wished to become part of this emerging nation that promised a better life for them and their families. They are those who -- then and now -- truly cared about others. They were Washington, Jefferson, Adams, our other Founding Fathers, Lincoln and other Americans. Yes, they are those who have given their lives for us both at home and on the battlefield. We pass them on the streets, nod to them in the grocery store, note the driver in the next lane.
"We the people" are those who answer the call in disaster and need, and those we read about in newspapers. They are the neighbors who watch out for their elderly next-door neighbors, the children throwing hoops next door.
We are a nation of immigrants and we cherish freedom. This is an important part of our history and remains so today. We must never forget who we are and from whence we have come. This also includes those who represent us in the legislature, our lawmakers, who were elected to uphold true American values. There is a cost for the great privilege of freedom, and that is being a responsible citizen, true to our beliefs, our faith and our heritage.
This morning, I received an email that has been circulated widely but incorrectly was attributed as a prayer by the esteemed Rev. Billy Graham. Snopes research stated the prayer gained publicity in 1996 when the Rev. Joe Wright of the Central Christian Church of Wichita used it as the opening prayer in the Kansas House of Representatives. Rev. Wright adapted this "Prayer of Repentance" from one written by Bob Russell, Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., for the prayer at the Kentucky governor's prayer breakfast in 1995.
This prayer also had been attributed to Paul Harvey and possibly used in other instances. I believe this prayer is meaningful in light of what is being mandated by the federal health care policies which, in my opinion, threaten my right of conscience and misconstrue what is preventive health care.
We come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.
We know your word says, 'woe to those who call evil good,' but that's exactly what we have done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and called it pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of this state and who have been ordained by you to govern this great state of Kansas. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will.
I ask in the name of your Son, the living savior, Jesus Christ."
Yes, we still value most highly our freedom to follow our consciences and our faith precepts. It is not just "someone telling us what we can or cannot do." It is what we believe.
Who are "We the people?" We are. We are the people.
Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.