Tag Archives: america

America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding

Robert R. Reilly
Ignatius Press, 366 pages


It is claimed that Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau and the theories of government “by the people” that they developed profoundly influenced the framers of the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Robert R. Reilly not only denies this assertion, but turns it on its head. In fact, he traces the American concept of ordered liberty to the Judeo-Christian ideal of one God who creates man in His own image, to the ancient philosophers and their use of reason, and to the Person of Christ Himself. From this they drew the principles of natural law that were the real foundation of our nation, where freedom and reason must together prevail.


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Breathing easier through the Pandemic


They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In this spring’s COVID-19 pandemic, it might be said that when breathing gets tough, the tough find solutions — even when it means retooling your manufacturing plant and retraining your employees to produce life-saving medical and protective equipment.

That’s what many larger corporations and smaller companies have done in recent months. Among these are San Diego-based ResMed, best known for its line of home medical devices to treat sleep apnea and respiratory disorders, and the Ford Motor Company headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.

ResMed: saving lives with every breath

ResMed was on task preparing for the increased demand for ventilators long before the new virus was detected in the United States.

“As soon as the virus broke out in Wuhan, China, we saw the deadly respiratory effects it was having on patients in that city from our local team,” said ResMed CEO Mick Farrell, a Legate of the San Diego Chapter. The corporation immediately began ramping up production of its lines of bilevel devices, ventilators, and ventilation masks from its factory near Shanghai, China.

Initially they expected COVID-19 to spread similarly to how SARS-CoV-1 did in 2003. But when this coronavirus proved much more contagious, they drastically increased production in larger ResMed factories in Singapore and Australia in an effort to meet anticipated worldwide demand. “We worked within our company to quickly double and then triple our global ventilation production capability, and to increase our production of ventilation masks by tenfold,” said Farrell.

But ventilators don’t run themselves, and the CEO was concerned early that in some hard-hit areas there might not be enough health care workers trained in their use. “Frankly, we can ramp up production of ventilators and ventilation masks much faster than hospital systems can train new respiratory therapists, respiratory nurses, and pulmonary and critical care physicians” — which is why concepts like social distancing and self-quarantine have been so important as ways to “flatten the curve” so that hospitals were not overrun with more patients than they had the beds, supplies, and staff to treat effectively, he explained.

Bilevel or BiPAP ventilators are “non-invasive” devices that operate at two different airway pressures, a higher pressure to trigger inhalation and a lower pressure to facilitate exhalation — unlike a CPAP machine, which provides a single continuous pressure. BiPAP ventilators have utility for sleep apnea but also for certain other respiratory disorders. Doctors say many patients who experience moderate breathing issues with COVID-19 could be served well with a BiPAP ventilator, and the FDA has approved bilevels for coronavirus treatment provided they are fitted with filters.

Some have questioned whether these “noninvasive” ventilators, which feed pressurized air through a tube to a facial mask worn by the patient, would inadvertently spread the virus through aerosolization since they are not closed systems like the “invasive” ventilators that require intubation. But Farrell noted that ordinary clinical precautions are sufficient for reducing any such risk to a level comparable to that of “invasive” ventilators.

“Even with an invasive ventilator and an intubated patient, they can cough or sneeze before and after they are intubated, so the risk of airborne and surface contact transmission of the coronavirus is present in that case as well,” he said.

For the sake of employees, ResMed implemented broad safety practices in their manufacturing and distribution centers and asked employees to work from home who have been able to do so. Farrell praised the “ResMedians” who continue to produce, test, and distribute their products as the company’s “frontline heroes.”

“I am humbled by their dedication to our ultimate customer,” he said, “a person who is suffocating and needs our system to help them breathe!”

Ford: building to lend a hand

Over at Ford, where Ann Arbor Legate Gerald Schoenle is director of global trade services, the automaker stepped up quickly to produce medical devices and PPE in response to the crisis.

In April, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, Ford began manufacturing ventilators licensed from Florida-based Airon in its Rawsonville, Michigan, plant, aiming to deliver 50,000 units by July. The Airon Model A-E, authorized by the FDA for emergency use for coronavirus patients, is a simple ventilator that can be produced more rapidly and cost-effectively than those common in intensive-care units. Typically used in transport situations, the Airon ventilator is fully pneumatic, requiring no electricity or battery. It also has an analog meter and is controlled by switches and dials rather than a digital display, internal computer, and touchscreen.

“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams, working creatively and tirelessly, have found a way to produce this vitally needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO.In another partnership, Ford and 3M have been producing an innovative type of pressurized face mask for health care workers. Called a Powered Air Purifiying Respirator (PAPR), it’s a clear mask that fits over the entire face and draws in air through a tube connected to a pump that filters airborne contaminants. Interestingly, the PAPR, made at Ford’s facility in Flat Rock, Michigan, uses a type of fan Ford installs in ventilated car seats.

Among other initiatives, Ford has been producing reusable gowns from airbag materials; providing drivers, vehicles, and equipment as part of a coalition for testing symptomatic first responders and health care workers; making 3D-printed face shields and donating N-95 masks to hospitals; and lending manufacturing support to help Thermo Fisher Scientific scale production of COVID-19 collection kits.

They’ve also mass-produced facemasks for employee use globally and are seeking to have them certified for medical use. The United Auto Workers support Ford’s efforts, with members serving as “paid volunteers” in making it all happen.

While some reports suggest the ventilators and other products have been coming off the line too late, Jim Baumbick, vice president of Ford Enterprise Product Line Management, disagrees.

“[W]e have very clear signals working with our partners that the demand is far outpacing the supply of this critical equipment,” he said in mid April. “We know that there’s incredible demand and need for this during this short-time horizon.”

Corporate coping with COVID-19

The entire pandemic has been a source of stress for business leaders managing their companies through their COVID-19 response.

For ResMed’s Farrell, global video conferencing, a corporate COVID-19 task force, and shout-outs to ResMed from President Trump and health officials around the world have strengthened the team’s crisis response.

Perhaps most importantly, his faith has kept him on course.

“My daily prayer and scripture meditation time has put plenty of ‘ballast in the boat’ for me to keep steady in the COVID-19 storm,” he said.

Farrell said his heart and prayers go out “to all of these frontline clinical heroes who are donning severely limited quantities of personal protective equipment and working tirelessly around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients worldwide.”

He also asked Legates to pray for his global team “to continue in our vocation, and to help keep many hundreds of thousands of people breathing while their immune system fights against this deadly enemy of COVID-19.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine editorial consultant.


For the love of truckers

Among those essential servants of U.S. commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic have been the men and women who transport goods along the nation’s highways — truck drivers.

While their services have been necessary to keep supply lines intact, there remains the concern that truckers themselves could carry the virus as they travel across state lines. That has required special precautions for those who manage and staff the facilities that cater to truckers’ needs for fuel, food, and other services.

Though they’ve experienced significantly less traffic on the roads, truckers have also been making fewer stops to avoid exposure to the virus. Those without sleeper cabs have reported trouble finding motels that were renting rooms.

The truck stops have been quieter, too. “The lounges are all closed — the driver’s lounges,” Kansas trucker Kirk Warner told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “The TV rooms are closed. The workout rooms are closed. It’s just a different style these days.”

Warner noted that fellow drivers aren’t as social as before, avoiding handshakes and keeping distance when visiting the stops. But these have been the lucky ones; other truckers who contract or are exposed to COVID-19 are unable to work for weeks at a stretch.

Enter Jenny Love Meyer, executive vice president and chief culture officer of Love’s Travel Stops. This spring, under her direction, Love’s contributed $100,000 to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF) to assist drivers who are sidelined due to illness or injury during the pandemic.

“This donation reflects our belief that professional truck drivers have been the backbone of the U.S., especially during this challenging time,” said Meyer, a Legate of the Oklahoma City Chapter, in announcing the gift. “This contribution enables us to help drivers with immediate needs when they are unable to work due to COVID-19 or other medical issues.”

Love’s, the nation’s largest travel-stop network with more than 500 locations in 41 states, also is looking out for its 25,000 employees during this crisis beyond its increased safety measures. In March, the company announced temporary across-the-board raises and bonuses to its hourly employees along with free meals during shifts. They also said employees who test positive for COVID-19 will receive up to 80 hours of additional sick leave and that all salaried managers would collect their first-quarter bonuses early.

“We want our team members to know how much we appreciate them,” Meyer said. “They’re doing a fantastic job of keeping our stores clean and stocked. As an essential business, our team members have been critical to helping customers like professional truck drivers get back on the road quickly so they can deliver vital goods across the country.”

Bending back the sword of fear

With the long-held American tenet of separation of church and state, it would seem that wearing one’s faith on his sleeve in business might be ‘imprudent.’ After all, by the late 19th century, non-Catholic governments became the norm in Europe and in the Americas – and certain principles were instilled to keep Catholics ‘in line’ with dictates of civil authority. Catholicism and its unique teachings were to be granted no special treatment. And so an intolerable intimidation has trickled down to this day.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

It is the sword of fear pointed particularly at Catholics – in business, in government, in education, in everything.

The virtue of fortitude lets an executive act unapologetically and with confidence that God has his back. It’s the grit that lets him follow Divine instinct. It’s what prompts the CEO, judge, university professor, or administrative assistant to state plainly what he or she personifies as a Catholic – whether derided for it or not. High-octane guts trump human respect, and make some of the greatest leaders what they are.

But fear is the great underminer of fortitude, and there are reasons why.

Living in a continual state of moral compromise gives rise to fear – leading to heightened anxiety about others’ opinions or of being exposed. It’s been said the more one runs from God, the greater his unrest.

Next, the Church today is less likely to have her princes and shepherds draw clear boundaries clarifying longstanding right and wrong. Rather, many clerics pursue affirmation of the culture. The perception of losing centuries-old Church support makes Catholics more fearful, and more lax.

Third, among man’s deepest instincts is self-preservation, which kicks into high gear amid fear of loss – of business, income, stature, loved ones, health – even death. It takes supernatural muscle to go beyond the limitations of self-preservation and forge ahead for the selfless purposes of God.

Fourth, many contemporary Catholics recoil from living sacrificially or embracing hardship – errantly perceiving it as a lack of self-sufficiency. This exacerbates their fear of pain or even mild discomfort – making them ‘soft,’ less able to stand immovably firm on the tougher aspects of faith.

Finally, a close ‘relative’ of fear is uncertainty – which makes people queasy about circumstances and imagined outcomes. It keeps them inert, unable to take bold steps. The early 20th-century communists and Nazis exploited uncertainty, and kept people in constant suspicion of each other so they’d remain fearful and easily controlled.

Years ago when I was a legal writer, the attorney who owned the firm hosted Christmas parties at his spectacular country estate. He was devout Greek Orthodox, and one year gave us a special house tour. Matter-of-factly, he led us into a glorious room with a large spotlighted Bible on an ornate brass bookstand, flanked with candles in gilded holders, fresh poinsettias, and a spectacular gold-carved cross. Illuminated paintings of Christ and saints’ icons lined the walls. His wife led us in religious Christmas carols around their piano.

A godly leader, he made his faith evident in every setting. Many of us are still affirmed by his example.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

American dogma in dangerous decline

Dogma has a bad name these days, and that’s bad for the Church and for America.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (DCA) spoke for growing numbers of Americans when, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2017, she criticized Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith: “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

The premise is that those who hold dogmas grounded in religion are intolerant and bigoted, and should keep their religious ideas out of public life. That’s an idea both ironic and dangerous. American democracy was founded on dogmas grounded in religion. As our common assent to them diminishes, the duty of Catholics to live publicly as Catholics is increasingly threatened.

Dogmas are principles laid down by an authority as absolute truth. Some are “revealed” truths. While they are subject to reasoning, they are ultimately accepted by faith, by trust in the authority that reveals them. For example, Christians accept, on the authority of the Bible, that Jesus is God.

But Feinstein was not concerned about Barrett’s understanding of revealed dogma. She was targeting the Catholic understanding of moral truths, which for centuries have been accepted by the authority of Scripture and the authority of natural reason. For example, the Ten Commandments teach dogmas that it is always wrong intentionally to kill innocents, or to commit adultery, or to seek sexual gratification outside marriage — an institution defined by Jesus (Mt 19:4-6), and until recently by most societies, as the union of one man and one woman.

Of course, few dogmas have garnered universal assent, let alone been practiced universally by fallible human beings. But religious and non-religious people alike have generally believed that objective truths exist whether or not we apprehend them. Because they are true, we seek to discover and understand them, and to live by them.

Much has changed in recent decades. We are today witnessing the hardening of what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the “dictatorship of relativism” — the conviction that there are no absolute truths, that all knowledge and moral principles are the product of history and environment, or that they are constructed by the state, or by each person for himself.

That ‘relativism is itself an absolute truth’ claim is no longer an amusing irony. It has become a coercive barrier to traditional morality in American public life, a driver of judicial decisions and legislation that codify sexual freedom while silencing dissenters.

Recall, for example, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s relativist dictum justifying the abortion license: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This claim provides a constitutional basis for the killing of innocents and underlies the establishment of homosexual acts, same-sex “marriage,” and choosing one’s gender as constitutionally protected rights.

The Equality Act, passed this summer in the House, would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under the Civil Rights Act, brand those with traditional moral views as bigots, and open the door to financially ruinous lawsuits against Catholic and other religious institutions. Under this law, no one could claim religious freedom as a defense.

But our founders embraced a radical religious truth claim: “all men are created equal, [and] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….” The first of those rights, codified in the First Amendment, was religious freedom.

Call it the American dogma, the transcendent source of our equality and freedom. If we Catholics are to merit this gift, we must exercise it, in private and in public, as free and equal citizens of this great land.

THOMAS FARR is president of the Religious Freedom Institute, a D.C.-based non-profit that advances religious freedom for all as a source of human dignity, social and political flourishing, and international security. He was founding director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (1999-2003) and of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center (2011-18). He was an associate professor of the Practice of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service from 2007- 2018. He is a member of the Northern Virginia Chapter.

Heroes of 20th Century’s Last Great Tank Battle

John Hillen’s Cavalry Unit was supposed to scout the enemy and relay information back to headquarters. 

But on Feb. 24, 1991, Hillen and his squadron found themselves in the middle of the largest tank battle of operation Desert Storm.

“Because we were moving fast and because of the way the Iraqis were arrayed, we were on top and in the middle of them so quickly,” said Hillen, who at the time was a 25-year-old first lieutenant assigned to the 2nd squadron, 2nd armored cavalry regiment.


Hillen, now 53 and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, earned a Bronze Star for his role in what is known today as the Battle of The 73 Easting, which took place in the flat desert of southern Iraq. 

In that decisive engagement — the last great tank battle of the 20th century — the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment defeated two brigades of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard, destroying more than 160 Iraqi tanks, 180 personnel carriers, and 12 artillery pieces.

 Hillen, who was his squadron’s assistant operations officer, commanded a Bradley Fighting Vehicle — a cross between a light armored tank and personnel carrier — that used its tow missiles to destroy two Iraqi armored personnel vehicles.

“We used up our entire basic load of ammunition,” said Hillen, adding that his Bradley “took a lot of small arms fire” during the battle, but were otherwise unscathed after several hours of fighting Iraqi forces. One American soldier died in the battle.


“You can try to chalk it up to equipment, but at the end of the day, our training was the thing that made the American military not only victorious, but easily victorious,” Hillen said. “It didn’t have to be that easy, but it was because we were that much better.”

 In the years before Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, invaded Kuwait in 1990, Hillen had been a young Army officer. He commanded a tank platoon in Germany before becoming a scout platoon leader for the Second Squadron’s E Troop, which was then commanded by Capt. H.R. McMaster, who decades later became President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

 In the 1980s and early 1990s, Hillen and the Army officers of his generation trained for a war with the Soviet Union that many expected but hoped would never happen.

“The philosophy was command and control from the rear because everybody was preparing for a defensive battle of Western Europe,” Hillen said. That defensive posture went out the window when his unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf in December 1990.


“All of a sudden, we got thrown into a war where we had to be on the offensive,” Hillen said. “So we took all the things that slowed us down and we burned it all in a big bonfire in the desert. We moved everything we had left onto the most mobile and heavily armored offensive vehicles we could have, in order to ride with the forward surge of troops, and command and control from the front.”

When the aerial bombardment began in Operation Desert Shield, Hillen’s unit started moving across the Saudi Arabian desert toward Iraq. The day before the ground war commenced, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment crossed the border into Iraq. The plan was to get behind the Republican Guard forces and destroy them while preventing them from retreating from Kuwait.

“Our job was the traditional cavalry job,” Hillen said. “We were the reconnaissance element for the entire VII Corps. We were the first ones in, ahead of everybody else. We had 120,000 people behind us.”

As E Troop neared a line on the map called the 70 Easting, Hillen and his troops encountered a large group of Republican Guard tanks that were dug-in and well-hidden.

“All of a sudden there was this field full of Iraqi T-72s, fully manned, with elite crews in them and everything,” said Hillen, who added at that point, the Americans had little choice other than to engage the Iraqis in battle because to retreat would have resulted in large numbers of casualties.


“Those guys knew what they were doing. These weren’t the Iraqis who were just surrendering,” Hillen said. “They fought back, had brand-new equipment. They had elite leaders, they were arrayed in a very professional defensive position and they counter-attacked.”

The Republican Guard may have been the Iraqi military’s elite, but they were no match for the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The American forces destroyed the Republican Guard. One Bradley Fighting Vehicle was lost. Not one American tank — the impermeable M1 Abrams — was destroyed.

“If we were all playing baseball, they were playing Single-A ball while we were playing in the big leagues,” said Hillen, who left active duty a year and a half after Desert Storm and went on to have a successful career in the private sector and in public service, even serving from 2005 to 2007 as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

Hillen, who today runs his own consulting firm, speaks fondly of the soldiers he served with in that battle, adding that many of them have seen each other at reunions over the years.

“We were all really lucky to have served with each other,” Hillen said. “That unit in Desert Storm was a real good team. We cared for each other and we had each other’s backs, as all good teams do.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Great Catholic Patriots In U.S. History

Although Catholics were a tiny minority at the time of the War for Independence and have suffered bigotry since colonial days, Catholics also have made great contributions to the cause of freedom throughout American history. Here are just a few examples.

Charles, Daniel, and John Carroll were part of a wealthy colonial family in Maryland. Charles Carroll was an early advocate of American separation from Great Britain and was the only Catholic among the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence. His cousin Daniel was one of only five men to have signed both the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution, while cousin John became the first Catholic bishop in the United States.

Commodore John Barry, an Irishborn Catholic from Philadelphia, has been called the “Father of the American Navy.” He served heroically throughout the Revolutionary War at the helm of Continental Navy warships. When President George Washington established a permanent U.S. Navy in 1794 he appointed Barry its senior captain and commodore.

Capt. André Cailloux was the first black war hero of the Civil War. In 1863, he was killed while leading Company E of the 1st Regiment Louisiana Native Guards in an assault on a Confederate fortress in Port Hudson, LA. His regiment, which was overwhelmingly Catholic, was the first black regiment to be mustered into the U.S. Army and the first to engage in a major battle.

Clara Barton, dubbed the “Angel of the Battlefield,” provided medical supplies and nursing care for wounded soldiers on the frontlines of the Civil War. “I was strong and thought I might go to the rescue of the men who fell. . . . What could I do but go with them, or work for them and my country?” she wrote in her memoirs. “The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” She later founded the American Red Cross.

Fr. Michael McGivney responded to the financial struggles of immigrant workers and the widespread bigotry against Catholics in the latter 1800s by founding the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society. Emphasizing both patriotism and Catholicism, the order showed how one could be both a faithful Catholic and a proud American.

Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated for U.S. president by a major party, lost in a landslide in 1928 to Herbert Hoover due in part to the nation’s prosperity and in part to lingering anti-Catholic prejudice. But he helped pave the way for the election of our first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, 32 years later.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome

Timothy Gordon
Sophia Institute Press, 304 pages


Did America’s founding fathers, nearly all Protestants or Enlightenment Deists, draw inspiration from the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, and Catholic natural law? Although they wouldn’t admit as much, philosopher Timothy Gordon says it’s so, and America’s moral and social decline is attributable to our gradual drift from those founding principles. “America is wired Catholic, labeled Protestant, and currently functioning as secular,” he writes. The solution: Since Catholic natural law is essential to the success of any republic, we need to get back to it – before it’s too late.

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Making America Patriotic Again

Whatever happened to patriotism? Recent Gallup polls reveal that Americans are feeling less patriotic nowadays.

Last summer, for the first time in the 18 years Gallup has conducted the poll, fewer than half of U.S. adults – just 47 percent – said they are “extremely proud” to be American. That was a 4 percent drop from 2017 and a marked decrease from the 70 percent figure seen in 2003.

Among younger Americans, patriotism seems even weaker. A Pew Research report a few years back found that fewer than half of U.S. millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – would describe themselves as “a patriotic person” at all. And a 2018 YouGov survey found that 46 percent of U.S. young adults ages 14 to 37 did not believe that America is “the greatest country in the world.”

“The millennial generation has earned plenty of labels,” said Gabrielle Bosché, a millennial strategist and author of the 2017 book 5 Millennial Myths. “Patriotic certainly isn’t one of them.”

That perceived lack of love for country has some observers concerned. In a commentary reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion earlier this year, Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky wondered: “Would today’s millennials meet the same challenge if faced with a future war, one in which the U.S. and its allies were attacked?” 

Meaning of patriotism

 Yet patriotism means different things to different people. All agree it means love of country, but how much can one disagree with a nation’s laws, government, and leadership and still be considered patriotic?

Although a nation founded upon democratic principles and individual liberties must allow for a “loyal dissent,” gestures such as athletes “taking a knee” during the National Anthem are seen by many as disrespecting the flag and those who defend it. On the other hand, those who show zealous, uncritical support for our country to the point of carving out a “love it or leave it” position are sometimes accused of expressing not patriotism, but rather nationalism.

Nevertheless, “That some have exhibited extremes of patriotism does not remove the truth that patriotism is a virtue and is both commended to us and commanded of us,” writes Monsignor Charles Pope, a pastor in Washington, D.C., and a popular blogger.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the virtue of patriotism, relating it to the Fourth Commandment call to honor one’s father and mother. “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom,” it reads. “The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.” (#2239)

That concern for the common good necessarily extends beyond one’s own national borders, however, or risks sliding toward an unhealthy nationalism. As Pope St. John Paul II said in an address to the United Nations in 1995, “True patriotism never seeks to advance the wellbeing of one’s own nation at the expense of others. …

Nationalism, particularly in its most radical forms, is thus the antithesis of true patriotism, and today we must ensure that extreme nationalism does not continue to give rise to new forms of the aberrations of totalitarianism.”

Reinvigorating patriotism

How, then, do we instill true patriotism among young Americans?

Some educators debate whether patriotism should be taught at all. Many elementary and high schools across the country today do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In those that do, students are not required to participate. History textbooks present more varied perspectives than they once did. Patriotism, or at least its public expression, is not being taught or practiced as perhaps it was years ago.

Meanwhile, President Trump has called for changes to public-school curricula with the intention of “promoting American pride and patriotism in America’s schools.” Such an initiative likely would involve not only saluting the flag, but also fostering American pride through lessons in history and civics, even if the shadows of history and the controversies of today are taught along with the principles of a democratic republic and the stories of America’s national heroes.

While those at other points on the political spectrum might not endorse such an educational directive, many still understand the need to rouse a patriotic spirit – however it may be defined – among the U.S. citizenry. “One of the core lessons of Trumpian politics is that Americans are starved for a meaningful politics of what it means to be American,” said political author Jefferson Cowie in a New York Times essay a year ago.

Even Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic former mayor of Chicago, acknowledges the need to start with the younger generation. He has called for a restoration of patriotism in our youth through mandatory national service such that all 18-year-olds who do not join the military must volunteer for six months with the Peace Corps or another service organization. “[A] universal national service program will tap into younger Americans’ desire to serve the greater good,” Emanuel explained in an April 2019 essay in The Atlantic.

Millennials and the future 

Amid the alarming polls, there is reason for hope.

Bosché, the millennial researcher, understands why younger Americans don’t sound as patriotic as their elders: they tend to be more independent in their thinking. They hear more discussions involving concerns over privilege and access, inequities in income and opportunity, and broader perspectives on global issues, and are less inclined to take the “my country, right or wrong” approach of generations past. Still, she sees this social awareness as a strength that can benefit America. “In truth, I believe millennials are more equipped to change the world than our predecessors were at our age,” she said.

Bosché said she knows many young people who consider reciting the Pledge “a privilege” rather than a duty

“Not all millennials have lost respect for our country,” she emphasized.

 GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680)

Feast Day: July 14
Canonization: October 21, 2012
Patron of Native Americans, ecologists, the environment, people in exile.

The “Lily of the Mohawks” was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, located in present-day upstate New York. Her father was a Mohawk war chief and her mother was a Christian Algonquin Indian.

The young future saint’s parents gave her the name Tekakwitha, which means “she who puts things in order.” When Tekakwitha was 4 years old, smallpox swept through her village, killing many members of the tribe, including her parents and a brother. Tekakwitha also fell ill, but she was nursed back to health, though with weak eyes and a scarred face.

At age 20, Tekakwitha was baptized by a Jesuit missionary priest, who in his writings later said she displayed a deep understanding of the faith and an uncommon mysticism and contemplative spirituality. She experienced persecution from other Mohawk members but held fast to her Christian faith.

At age 24, she fell ill and died on Wednesday of Holy Week, April 17, 1680. Her last words were said to be Iesos konoronkwa (“Jesus, I love you”).

Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and Other Conservatives Can Win Back America

Robert G. Marshall
TAN Books, 268 pages 240 pages

Are the liberals and radical secularists winning the cultural and political wars? They’ve certainly made gains, but the struggle is far from over, says author Robert G. Marshall, who served 13 terms in the Virginia House of Delegates before losing in his 2017 re-election bid to the first openly transgendered candidate to be seated in a U.S. statehouse. He argues that religion does have a place in our nation’s political life, illustrates the alarming errors propagated by secularist movements and rulings in contradiction to the vision of the Founding Fathers, and offers a blueprint by which believers and moral conservatives might begin turning back the tide.

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