Thanks Tri-City Herald and Dispute Resolution Center of the Tri-Cities for your recent Community Conversation on “When Faith and Rights Collide.”
I think the term “collide” is a misnomer in that what America has been experiencing has not been a collision, rather it has been a “traffic jam.” I say this because the effect of “faith and rights” coming together began more like a traffic jam begins, gradual, steady and unrelenting, with no end in sight.
As one might anticipate such a conversation unfolding, the effort of approximately 30 individuals was fairly true to form. Enthusiasm and willingness to participate was quickly reflected in the opening comments from the attendees. In my opinion, the larger group separated into smaller groups representing change within predefined boundaries — change dictated by those who felt their constitutional freedoms were being denied and the “fence sitters” who choose change based on personal interests at the time.
On further consideration one of two fundamental philosophies emerged representing the “immovable object” and the “irresistible force.”
Absolute truth was on trial before three groups, adherents, nonadherents and those with no opinion. The adherents were quickly labeled by the nonadherents as the fault for the social unrest faced by our country. It seemed to be the consensus the adherents were standing in the way of change. It is interesting to note that change has resulted in much that is good. On the other hand it has ushered into our nation a skyrocketing AIDS epidemic, more than 55 million abortions, more than 51 percent of our babies being born out of wedlock, in excess of one-in-four of our women being sexually abused, a disastrous increase in single-parent families, our nation slipping internationally to near the bottom in academic achievement, a massive assault on faith and traditional family, and a national debt unsurpassed by any society in the history of our world.
This is coupled with numerous international policy issues and unrelenting attacks within and without on the historic past and current leadership of our nation, has resulted in our nation no longer looked to as the leader and defender of freedom on a national or global scale.
History speaks for itself. Every ascending nation of the past has had the same warning signs of its demise, and that America is now experiencing. Wake up America. Disaster is knocking at the door.
The closing remarks of one participant in our Community Conversation reflected that she was fearful of those who stand in the way of change. I am sorry that anyone walks away from our conversation being fearful; there is nothing to fear from truth. Truth can only be absolute. It cannot be one way today and another tomorrow. I, for one, only see hope — hope for a better understanding of why we must recognize absolute truth and the Constitution as the foundational elements of our country’s society.
Together we can move forward, building our nation on trust, hard work, family and values that are inalienable and forever.
John J. Talbott was the mayor of the city of Spokane from 1998 through 2000. He and his wife, Claudia, live in Pasco.>