As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
Our Nation’s Godly Heritage
Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961), Journalist, Writer, Spy and Poet
Freedom is a need of the soul, and nothing else. It is in striving towards God that the soul strives continually after a condition of freedom. God alone is the inciter and guarantor of freedom. He is the only guarantor. External freedom is only as aspect of interior freedom. Political freedom, as the Western world has known it, is only a political reading of the Bible. Religion and freedom are indivisible. Without freedom, the soul dies. Without the soul, there is no justification for freedom.
Whittaker Chambers (also known as Jay Vivian Chambers or David Whittaker Chambers) was born in Philadelphia in April 1901, but he grew up in New York. His was a troubled childhood. He attended Williams College and Columbia University. At age 20, he married Esther Shemitz, an art student and pacifist. They would have two children.
He lived a profligate life that ultimately led him to join the Communist Party of the United States. He was recruited to join the Communist “underground” and began his career as a spy for an underground cell in Washington; D.C He became a courier between various covert sources and Soviet intelligence. Ultimately, his faith in communism waned, he worried that his life was in danger, and in August, 1939, the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact drove Chambers to take action against the Soviet Union. He became an outspoken opponent of communism, testifying at the famed perjury trial of Alger Hiss.
He would later tell FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that he gave up on communism when he found Christianity. He and his family became Quakers.
He died of a heart attack at his home in Maryland in July 1961. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Chambers the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to “the country’s epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism.”
Presidential Quote of the Week
George H. W. Bush (1924 – ), 41st President of the United States
Communism died this year. Even as President, with the most fascinating possible vantage point, there were times when I was so busy helping to manage progress and lead change that I didn’t always show the joy that was in my heart. But the biggest thing that has happened in the world, in my life, in our lives, is this: By the grace of God, America won the Cold War. And there’s another to be singled out, though it may seem inelegant. I mean a mass of people called the American taxpayer. No one ever thinks to thank the people who pay the country’s bill or an alliance’s bill. But for a half century now, the American people have shouldered the burden and paid taxes that were higher than they would have been to support a defense that was bigger than it would have been if imperial communism had never existed. But it doesn’t anymore. And there is a fact I wouldn’t mind the world acknowledging: The American taxpayer bore the brunt of the burden, and deserves a hunk of the glory.
- State of the Union Address, January 26, 1992
George Herbert Walker Bush was born in June 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut. Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School, and then attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He held a large number of leadership positions, including being the president of his senior class.
After graduating, he enlisted in the Navy and became a naval aviator at the age of 18. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi. He was the youngest naval aviator to that date. He engaged in several battles in World War II, including in the Philippine Sea. During one air battle against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands, his aircraft was hit by flak and his engine caught fire. Some of his crew was lost, and Bush bailed out and waited four hours in an inflated raft until rescued. He subsequently participated in rescue operations himself. He was honorably discharged after the Japanese surrender.
Bush had been accepted to Yale University prior to his enlistment in the Navy, and ultimately graduated from Yale with a B.A. in economics. After graduation, he moved to West Texas, where he gained wealth and success in the oil business.
His entry into politics was an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, followed by an election two years later to the House of Representatives. In 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations. The Senate confirmed him unanimously, and he served two years. When Ford succeeded Nixon, Bush was appointed to be Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China. In 1976, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Four years later, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan selected Bush to be his Vice President.
After eight years as Vice President, Bush himself ran for the presidential office, and was the first serving Vice President to be elected President since Martin Van Buren in 1836. The world was changing following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. There were incidents in Panama and the first Gulf War, as well as an economic recession. He was defeated by Bill Clinton in the run for a second term.
Bush retired to summer in Kennebunkport, Maine, and winter in Houston or in the Florida Keys. Bush is married to Barbara Pierce, and they had six children. He lists his faith as Episcopalian.