A Letter from the Frontlines

From: Reverend Tom Benz - tbenz@sprynet.com

To: Friends

Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 10:11 PM

Subject: The 10 Commandments Controversy

 

The 10 Commandments Controversy

Over these past days, I have involved myself deeply with the 10 commandments
controversy.  It is an incredible situation, with strong passions flowing
like mighty rivers.  Having been 'on site' each and every day, I am
viscerally moved, and I believe that I have a good feel for the whole
situation.  Let me give you a few observations and reflections . . .

First, and this will come as no surprise to you at all, the press reports do
not always reflect reality.  The video clip of the man screaming at the
'God-haters' for taking the monument out is entirely unrepresentative of the
thousands that have participated in the day and night vigils at the Alabama
Supreme Court building.  These people look as though they belong in a Norman
Rockwell painting . . . simply a cross section of
America.  Young mothers
with children, grandparents with lawn chairs, middle-aged working people,
teenagers in blue jeans and T-shirts all have come together to pray and to
let our government know that
America wants to acknowledge God in our public
and private lives.  They sleep on the cement, they share their food, they
read Scripture and sing, and they encourage one another.  It's a most
beautiful sight to behold.  (There is not even any litter; everyone cleans
up after themselves!)

Not only are these people a reflection of
America's diverse grass roots,
they are in harmony with each other.  There are not many churches that enjoy
the unity that we see continually.  Country Gospel music is followed by
contemporary music, then we sing hymns.  A Catholic priest speaks before a
conservative Baptist.  Minorities are not just represented, the threads of
their distinctives are woven inextricably into the fabric of the crowd.

Today James Dobson spoke . . . having him is like having President Bush . .
. security, timing, every step is choreographed, etc.  And it was great.
Dr. Dobson galvanized his audience by comparing Judge Moore's display of the
10 Commandments with Rosa Parks refusal to sit in the back of the bus.  "We
as Christians will not sit in the back of the bus . . . enough is enough!"

It was interesting to me that Fox Radio News listed the crowd today at
1,000.  The plaza in front of the court house was mobbed.  The smallest
crowd that we have had for a rally was 1,000 -- this was between 2,000 and
3,000.

The media also makes it seem that there is just as much opposition to Judge
Moore as there is support, and that most of the people in the vigil are from
other states.  Clearly, we in
Alabama have deeply appreciated the many
people who have come from other states, but we have hundreds and hundreds
who come each day from right here in
Alabama -- the salt of Alabama.

Also, this morning (Thursday) USA Today reported a Gallup Poll where more
77% of Americans disagree with the Federal judge's ruling that the monument
had to be moved.  As Alan Keyes said today, The Ten Commandments are as
popular as God!

In another development, the
Mississippi governor said today that he would
like to display
Alabama's monument in government buildings in his state.  He
also hopes that this monument can travel from state capital to state
capital!

It's interesting that a few atheists came out the first few days.  Never
more than 5 or 6, they set up a small camp across the street.  They would
only be there for a few hours a day.  After the first couple of days, they
have disappeared.  If they have been there at all the past few days, I have
not seen them.

I helped to host a clergy luncheon after Dobson's presentation.  We were
swamped with pastors!  We planned for 72 and over 150 came.  Alan Keyes
spoke to that group, along with Judge Moore. It ended with a strategy
session on how to continue to fight for the soul of our nation.  Of course,
the first point of action is prayer, but then what moves do we make?  It was
another time of incredible unity and passion.  I am looking forward to
seeing what happens with this bunch!

The heart of the movement is to stop -- and reverse -- 40 years of judges
making law from the bench, and to move our nation back to our posture 'under
God' and to real acknowledgement of God in public life.  The cry in prayer
is for the soul of
America to be renewed in faith and in submission to our
God.

It's incredible to be here.  It looks, feels, and smells like the seeds of
true revival.  Please, Lord, let it come.

For the children,

Tom

PS:  I am delighted to be a source of information for you from the front
lines.  Please don't hesitate to email or phone!