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Scott Thomas Wilk: I choose God

Right Here Right Now

Posted: May 28, 2009 8:39 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
When Councilman Bob Kellar's proposal to place "In God We Trust" on the city logo made it onto the City Council's agenda, I confess I was ambivalent.

Although I believe in God and His precepts, too many hypocritical and/or bad things have been done in the name of God.

However, Jonathan Kraut's column "In humans we trust" (Opinion, The Signal, May 19, 2009), reminded me why even something as simple as putting God in the city's motto is important to our public life.

Kraut's piece extolled the virtues of people and advocated placing "In Humans We Trust" on the city logo.

As the late, great (and Kraut mentor) Roberta Gillis would say, "Are you serious!?"

Just a cursory glance at the day's news reveals the absurdity of Kraut's argument that people are trustworthy. The Signal's front page story was "Woman's body found."

Other news of the day included "Man gets 5 years in student's death," "Kidnap suspects are identified," "Man arrested in fatal shooting," "Ex-officer pleads guilty to assault" and "Man charged with human smuggling." The most horrifying headline: "Father bites out his son's eye, police say."

I'm sure Kraut would argue these are isolated incidents; that "it takes a village" of people working together for good things to happen.

A village is a form of government and a government that doesn't follow God's precepts of love, tolerance and forgiveness wreak havoc on a much grander scale than any one person could ever do.

Since space is limited I'll confine my examples of government action to the last century of human history.

The Turks slaughtered 1.3 million Armenians (and to this day won't admit it); Hitler and his Nazi regime exterminated six million Jews; Joseph Stalin and his Soviet communist government annihilated 20 million people and the communist Khmer Rouge killed 1.5 million of their fellow Cambodians (20 percent of the population).

Kraut's mantra of "separation of church and state" is drowned out by the cacophony of human suffering inflicted by governments not constrained by the reverence and fear of God.

Our Founding Fathers understood that only God was trustworthy. That is why they embraced natural and Divine Law. Natural law is higher than human law and all basic human rights flow from it.

As Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Our Founding Fathers understood for men to be free, government must be beholden to a higher power. The Declaration was a dual declaration: a declaration of independence from Britain and a declaration of dependence on God.

Kraut is also upset that the City Council voted to adopt the "In God We Trust" motto rather than place it on the ballot for the voters to decide. He penned, "Five elected officials took away our right to decide if the city as a whole does or does not believe in God."

We function within a republican form of government, not a direct democracy, so it is within the City Council's power to take such action on their own.

Although I support the council's action, I like the idea of allowing the voters to decide between "In God We Trust" and "In Humans We Trust."

Placing the two competing mottos on the ballot will be good for our local economy as the national media will be camped out in our city to cover the election (and secretly praying for an upset - how ironic is that?)

More importantly, it will give us a chance to dialogue about where we came from and where we want to go as a community and society.

The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence states, "For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and our sacred honor."

This closing passage is not a perfunctory shout out to God, but a declarative statement of their firm reliance on the Creator.

Like our Founding Fathers, I believe all of our rights and blessings flow from God.

So Jonathan Kraut can place his trust in humans, but I choose to place my trust in God.

Let's vote!

Scott Thomas Wilk is president of the Liaison Communications and an elected member of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of these organizations or those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among several local Republican writers.

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