Ted Baccich is a former Active Duty Army Chaplain who holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans, and a Master’s of Divinity with a concentration on Public Policy from Regent University. He has served for over 25 years and has multiple deployments to include Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom 1, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He and his family reside in the New Orleans, LA. area.
In 1982, Ronald Reagan said, "Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated." CCA asks the question: Are we losing the test of wills, the battleground for character? Does character still matter to society at large? Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines Character as, “The complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation (the character of the American people). General Matthew Ridgway once observed, “Character is the bedrock on which the edifice of leadership rests … Without character, particularly in the military profession, failure in peace, disaster in war or, at best, mediocrity in both will result.”
Let the question again be asked, Does character still matter? Many may find shocking that the Nation has collectively asked that very question – especially in regards to our Nation’s leaders. It’s like asking if it suddenly became “okay” to lie, cheat and steal. And the “correct” answer to that character question varies greatly depending on who you might ask. We live in a world that is increasingly given to random personal subjectivism (AKA moral relativism). Thus there exists a stunning lack of consensus about the value of character. Why does society at large seem to disagree about something so fundamental as character? There are many plausible answers, but one of them is a clearly defined societal philosophical shift in ethical reasoning. Stated more simply, over the past 40-50 years, blanket tolerance and egalitarianism have been strongly promoted by our institutions of higher learning, the mainstream media, and by various national organizations.
Character is the virtue of those brave souls who have the audacity to believe; it is the virtue of men and women who esteem to higher ideals, and it defines our moral identity. And tolerance, as GK Chesterton so rightly observed, “is the virtue of people who don’t believe anything.” So the issue of whether character truly matters springs directly from an issue of belief. Specifically, if God exists, then honesty, integrity and honor matter in this world and in the age to come. However, if God does not exist, then there is no higher truth and therefore character, honor and integrity really don’t matter because they can never be objectively defined. If there is no God, then there are no standards, no higher truths, and no one’s lifestyle choices could really be deemed more virtuous than someone else’s.
Does character really matter? It is an important question and one that I never thought I’d ask, because where I grew up, it always seemed so patently obvious that character was everything. Character makes men, and men of character built our Nation. Leadership descends from character. It binds the covenant of marriage to a lifetime of love and loyalty. Character is our identity, our integrity, our honesty; it is the very innermost part of who we are. It is the nuclear glue that binds families, prevents divorce, protects children, and forms the very backbone of a stable society. If we – as individuals or as a collective society – do not have good and honorable character, then we cannot and should not be trusted. Character is linked with our spiritual life because it is enhanced by our faith in something, or someone greater than ourselves. For all practical purposes, character is our spiritual life; it is our heart and soul. General George C. Marshall was right when he said, “I look upon the spiritual life of the soldier as even more important than his equipment….The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul are everything. Unless the soldier’s soul sustains him, he cannot be relied upon and will fail himself and his country in the end.”
General Marshall grew up in a generation that was inculcated with intrinsic and timeless values that are often forgotten and sometimes despised today. In his day a man’s word was his bond. In his day, a man could still (in some locales) get a bank loan based upon the strength of his character and his reputation for integrity alone. Today that idea is almost laughable. In that Greatest Generation (Marshall’s generation) a man would swear to his own hurt if necessary, because society understood that a man’s word was the man – a man’s word was his soul. Today, in 2012, we actually have to be reminded that character matters. In 1987, the Michael Josephson Institute was founded to simply remind America of the importance of good and ethical character, and it is still going strong today. Why? Because of a societal shift in ethics. Because the value of character and integrity have been repeatedly dissuaded and deterred, and these values have been deemed as entirely secondary in importance to pragmatism and an illusion of economic gain. Because there is no lie that is repeated so often or so absurd that men will begin to believe it – if it is simply repeated often enough.
It is time to remember the eternal and Divine truths that built the Greatest Nation on earth. If we lose our individual or collective character as a people, then we lose our collective soul. It is time to remember that the real war we fight – the war behind the war – is indeed a “test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.” Let the good people of America rise up in chorus and demand leaders with good and honorable character, and let us demand the same of ourselves. Let the good people of America rise up and chorus and demand that we collectively acknowledge the truth that the nation was founded upon, namely that our Inalienable Rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, self defense, private property, etc.) descend directly from the Creator, and they are secured by our character and integrity toward Him and one another. Let the good people of America rise up in chorus and demand ruthless and unvarnished truth from themselves and from their local, state and national leaders. William Shakespeare once wrote, “This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Jesus reminds us that the “truth will make you free.” Let’s remember that without truth and without character, the liberties of a nation cannot and will not be secure.
People sometimes thank me for my years of service in the military and I truly appreciate it, but I often wonder if all those years will have been enough to make a real and lasting contribution to the character, welfare and lasting security of the nation. I pray, hope and believe they all will, but with an apparent attack on things so fundamental as godly/ Judeo-Christian character, I scratch my head and wonder, what kind of world will our children inherit?
-- Posted by Ted Baccich, 14 May 2012THE WAR II
Ronald Reagan once said, "Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated."What does one think about when one hears the word, “war”? <<READ MORE>>
Recently, over the Christmas holidays, I was driving home happily and listening to the Sean Hannity radio show. Because we were in the heart of the Christmas season and I was listening to an iconic conservative talk show, I expected to hear cogent, logical, and perhaps even inspirational conservative thought. This particular show was being led by a guest host (not Sean Hannity, but presumably a colleague). A caller was speaking to this host about the recent repeal of the Military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy (DADT), and the show’s host mocked him by saying, “What’s wrong with Sodomy?” The host went on to dismiss the caller’s concerns as “silly.” <<READ MORE>>
Where were you when the world stopped turning? That is the question of the day. It is also the name of an Alan Jackson song about that terrible day, nine years ago. There are a few events that are so significant and impactful in world history, whereas, when they happen, almost any given person can tell where they were and what they were doing when it happened. The assassination of JFK (if you are old enough to remember), the attempted assassination of
Madelline McCann, Jaycee Lee Duggard, Jessica Lunsford, Natascha Kampusch, Jessyca Mullenberg, Elizabeth Smart – If you are reading this and you do not recognize these names, you need to read further, because these precious children all have something in common. They are, in a way, every man’s/ every woman’s children. These children are the victims of a society that has run amok in touchy feely, perverted, cowardly justice. These children are the victims of a society that coddles criminals, exalts egalitarianism, and increasingly despises moral absolutes. These are the children who are victims of what is today a global horror called abduction and pedophilia. <<READ MORE>>
In 1927, an American socialist named Norman Thomas, who was six times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said that the American people would never vote for socialism, but he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program (reference Wikipedia). His observation has proven tragically prophetic. As of this writing, our great nation is on the brink of implementing Socialism by sheer political will. What is government run health care really all about? <<READ MORE>>
We live in a haunted world. Never before in the history of the Republic have so many with so much in their power felt so threatened. The world and its power centers are more tightly coupled than ever before. The future is uncertain and the collective unconscious of America feels it keenly. The economy is erratic and unstable. Pornography streams into our homes like crack cocaine via the internet and cable TV. Homosexuality and its myriad of predatorial perversions are more militant than ever before and it threatens our children directly. The traditional nuclear family is rapidly becoming a relic. <<READ MORE>>
Abortion. The mere mention of the word causes almost instant polarization. It is the quiet holocaust of our time. On January 22, 1973, The US Supreme Court legalized, and in many ways societally legitimized abortion. Stating that a woman may abort her pregnancy for any reason, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes 'viable,'" the “Justices” ignored and usurped the foundations of our Constitution. Volumes could be – and have been – written about the atrocious Roe v. Wade decision. This post asks a simple question: Where is the voice of the American church in legalized abortion? <<READ MORE>>
Please Join Us As We Fight. Take a Stand Today:
1. Call your elected representative and get involved now. Take a few minutes and let them know what you think about the issues you care about today. Let them hear your voice about illegal immigration, government run healthcare and the many other issues that we all currently face. The Capitol Hill switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121, or toll free at 1-877-851-6437. It only takes a few minutes to make a call, and your vote does matter. Remember in the year 2000, that the President of the United States was elected by 537 votes in Florida. The margin of victory was 0.0092%. For every one person who actually calls or writes their elected leaders, there are generally hundreds, if not thousands that he or she is speaking for. Remember to always be polite, respectful and to the point when calling.
2. If you have not already done so, REGISTER, click on link and take advantage
privilege. Stay informed of the issues and carefully consider who and what you are voting for.
3. Get yourself and your family involved in a decent church. There are no perfect churches, but there are decent ones out there. Find one and remember that God requires us to keep holy the Sabbath Day. Church attendance is a benefit and blessing of a free society, and it is a basic human need. Do not take this freedom lightly or one day it may be gone.
4. Support your local candidate or run for office yourself. Want change for the better? Make it happen. Take time to visit your local party headquarters when it matters most – immediately prior to an important election.
5. Watch out for your neighbors, and help them when there in genuine need. Like it or not, we are our brother’s keeper, and that implies moral obligation to those in need.
6. Get involved in worthwhile causes and para-church organizations such as the
Manhattan Declaration and so many others that are fighting for liberty
and the common good of humanity. Getting involved can be a lot easier that it seems and with the internet at your fingertips, one can "get involved" in about 5 minutes. Your voice counts!
7. Speak out whenever an opportunity presents itself. Let your voice be heard; be salt and light. Comment on news stories; write letters to the editor. We are convinced there is a quiet multitude in this country who will not speak because of the fear of ridicule. Speak out boldly anyway; and especially if you know in your heart that you are right, and you might just wind up turning a few heads in the right direction.
8. Live your life like your influence matters. It does. You cannot change the entire world, but you definitely can change your little corner of it.
9. Pray and believe in God. Make a conscious decision to have faith in His eventual triumph over all powers of darkness (both personally and corporately).
10. If you are married, love your mate; stay faithful in word and deed. If single, love your Creator, and seek a mate if you wish. Live a life of integrity.
11. Love your children. Raise them up with godly wisdom and discipline. Keep them from the horrible influences that are now so pervasive in the culture. They truly are the future.
12. Live for God first and foremost. Live for a purpose that is greater than yourself. As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel always – if necessary use words.” Remember that there are no small rolls in God’s Kingdom. As