The president has pulled the big tent out of the basement and put his revival on the road. Hey there, brothers and sisters, its ole Pastor Reagan again. No, you haven't seen him in church but a few Sundays since he's been in the White House. He doesn't want to inconvenience the congregation with the security. Never mind, the man doesn't need a sermon. He's got his speechwriter to tell him what Isaiah and C. S. Lewis (!) had to say.
Preacher Reagan mounted the pulpit the other day and I've been reading excerpts from his sermon. One piece of his good news is that "a Washington-based research council has concluded that Americans were far more religious than people of other nations; 95 percent of those surveyed expressed a belief in God." The equivocal news is that only a "huge majority believed the Ten Commandments had real meaning for their lives."
It looks as though the 5 percent who are atheists teamed up with the minority who aren't much affected by the Ten Commandments to be "in opposition to, or at least out of step with" the president. You know the bad news: they live in the nation's capital and are "Washington-based bureaucrats and social engineers. . . . . (They) have taken upon themselves the job of superintending us by government rule and regulation. Sometimes their voices are louder than ours."
Relax, folks. President Reagan is the new social engineer, and from now on he and his Washington-based bureaucrats will do the superintending around here
First off, the parents of those "promiscuous" girls who go to get birth control prescriptions will be notified by the government, if the clinic receives federal funds. "Are we to believe that something so sacred can be looked upon as a purely physical thing with no potential for emotional and psychological harm?"
Of course not, that's why there is so much speculation about the rule the president will order for promiscuous boys. What will it be? When will he tell us? Well, it's been delayed. And no wonder: the president can't get any cooperation.
"One of the nation's leading newspapers has created the term 'squeal rule' in editorializing against us, and we are being criticized for violating the privacy of young people. A judge has granted an injunction against enforcement." The poor man must feel like St. Sebastian.
That explains his repeated plea for parents to tell him: "How far are they willing to go in giving to government their prerogatives as parents?" Is "this intrusion in their family life by government" the intervention for which the 95 percent have been praying?
You could send him a card or letter. Or maybe hop on over to the hospital and use the 24-hour toll free number. It won't be hard to find because "in a conspicuous place (there will be posted) a notice stating that 'discriminatory failure to feed and care for handicapped infants in this facility is prohibited by Federal law.'"; the number is on the sign.
Even this reassuring sign is causing trouble. Doctors and nurses have been raising Cain about it. They think it is a vote of no confidence in them. But the president said it was for them: "so the nurses and others may report violations in time to save the infant's life." It seems to work this way: a nurse calls the number and a Washington-based bureaucrat flies out to feed the baby.
No wonder the president says: "Let our children pray." Trying to implement "the rule of law under God" is tough business. Someone ought to tell him that the children can; it would make him feel so much better. Anytime they want to pray, they can do it. My guess is that a lot of them are praying, right now, to get the government off their backs.
The president is praying "for the salvation of all those who live in totalitarian darkness" and he has made it clear that they're not all in Russia. Some of them "would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority . . . I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support of this administration's efforts to keep America strong and free."
Modestly, he didn't mention that he had been trying to do his part--until he was forced to back off--by protecting us from American groups that get federal grants or contracts. They were not going to be able to lobby legislators or file friend-of-the-court briefs anymore under the new regulation he tried to install. But what about issuing a rule on lobbying by foreign governments that receive U.S. funds. Patience, Israelis! I told you, turning this rule of law thing around is no piece of cake.
It isn't as though the "many God- fearing, dedicated noble men and women in public life" aren't doing their duty by foreigners. Look at all those people who weren't allowed to come here to last year's U.N. disarmament conference. And what about that 68- year-old menace, Hortensia Allende? They didn't let her in to "engage in activities which would be prejudicial to the public interest, or endanger the welfare, safety and security of the United States" did they?
Also, the president is doing his best to make the poor poorer so they can get to heaven. He's saving them from materialism by cutting their food stamps and welfare. He's trying to get them there sooner by cutting medical benefits.
And he has heeded Matthew 19:24 by making the rich even richer. None of those birds is going to get through the heavenly gates, not unless it gets easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
We know the true depth of the president's belief. He's selling the weather satellites that those who produce our food and protect our national security depend upon. As the president and our dimes say: "In God We Trust."