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Rev. Chuck Freeman

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Does America Still Have the Moral Courage of 1776?

Posted: 07/12/11 12:41 PM ET

"We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour."

These words were the stirring zenith to my Independence Day sermon. They give me red, white and blue chill bumps every time I utter them.

I arise at 5:30 a.m. every Sunday that I conduct the church service. As I wash my face and do my wake up rituals I often listen to the BBC. My groggy senses were treated to this story.

Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of Thailand's fugitive former prime minister led his loyalists to a landslide election victory Sunday, a stunning rout of the military-backed government that last year crushed protests by his supporters with a bloody crackdown that left 91 people dead and the capital in flames.

As prime minister, Mr. Thaksin championed the cause of the rural poor, mainly in the north. He introduced various effective and popular anti-poverty programs, among them subsidized universal healthcare and microcredit loans for farmers.

The results pave the way for Yingluck Shinawatra to become the nation's first female prime minister if the coup-prone Thai army accepts the results.

This election was the fourth official victory at the polls for Mr. Thaksin's political parties since 2001 (another election result was annulled, but he won that too). Three times opponents of Mr. Thaksin in the "establishment", those elite forces around the army and the monarchy, nullified the democratic will of the people by using either the army to force him from office or the courts to dissolve his political party.

I look at myself, my congregation, and my friends. We lead comfortable middle class lives. We feel a bit of socio-political discomfort on rare occasion. We opine passionately about justice. Candor compels me to say that we lead privileged lives.

I wonder if I truly have the fortitude of 1776. Does America have the moral courage of 1776? Am I willing like my forbearers, like the people of Thailand, to lay my life, fortune, and sacred honor on the line for freedom?

I'm loath to say that most of us are too fat and happy, even in the aftermath of the worst financial crash since the 1930's.

NPR reported this morning.

"The rates of obesity for American adults worsened in 16 states in the last year -- and not a single state showed improvement. A dozen states now have obesity rates that exceed 30 percent, according to a report just out from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation."

Let me amend my previous statement. We are fat and bored. Multitudes of Americans numb themselves with sensational "news,"(have you heard about the Casey Anthony verdict?), celebrity gossip (what are Prince William & Kate doing today?), and high fructose corn syrup.

I don't believe most American's have the moral courage of 1776. I'm including myself in this depressing diagnosis.

Our souls are starving. There is hope for us if we change our appetite, and do an extreme makeover of our diet.

Sacred chef Jesus grills up a first course in nourishing 1776 valor.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the commonwealth of heaven."

Contemporary Prophet Tracy Chapman serves sacred fare from the "son of humanity's" cookbook.

"Don't be tempted by the shiny apple Don't you eat of a bitter fruit, Hunger only for a taste of justice, Hunger only for a world of truth. 'Cause all that you have is your soul."