Most of us are familiar with the "Peanuts" comic strip. The lead character, Charlie Brown, is the anti-hero. His life is one of unrequited love, a losing baseball team, and a football yanked out from him at the last possible moment by the perpetually-cranky Lucy Van Pelt. But Charlie Brown is not a misanthrope. Surrounded by seemingly endless discouragements, Charlie Brown struggles on. The creator of "Peanuts," Charles Schulz, speaks through Charlie Brown: "A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope."
"Hope" is a precious thing to reflect upon at the beginning of a new year, as we gaze upon our "stack of memories" from the passing year. In terms of religious liberty, hope took a heavy blow in 2013. From the tragedy in Syria and the heavy loss of life there, to the serious infringements on religious liberties posed by the HHS mandate in the U.S., looking back is discouraging. It is clear that global hostility between religious sects, believers and non-believers remains alarmingly high.
Yet, there is "one little hope," as Charlie Brown says. Psalm 146 celebrates this:
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
The maker of heaven and earth,
the seas and all that is in them,
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
who gives bread to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free;
the LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects the resident alien,
comes to the aid of the orphan and the widow,
but thwarts the way of the wicked.
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, Zion, through all generations!
Thank you for your support of the Acton Institute. May 2014 be a year when our stack of memories is filled with this abundant hope.
Rev. Robert Sirico, President