On Thanksgiving week, 2014, I paid a visit to a friend in Pall Mall, Tennessee—the Reverend George Edward York, son of the late World War I hero, Sergeant Alvin York. Though I had ventured a visit to his hometown a year or so earlier, he was away visiting family in the Washington D.C. area. Hoping to catch him at home this time, I called him a couple of days prior to our trip to ensure the timing of our visit would be compatible with his schedule. He assured me that my suggested timing would work into his schedule and that he would be waiting for us.
Reverend York had called me several years earlier on the Monday morning following his visit to Clinton, Tennessee in 2009 when he and other family members were the Grand Marshals at the city’s Veteran’s Day Parade. When he asked if I had been at the parade, I responded with great embarrassment that I had not been and assured him that if I had known he was going to be there I would have been in attendance. Despite my absence from the parade, he sent a recommended biography of his father to me and enlisted me in the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation.
The day of our visit to Pall Mall was a beautiful sunny autumn day. It was made all the more memorable by the approach of Thanksgiving Day. We stopped first that morning at Sergeant York’s graveside before going on to Reverend York’s home. While standing at Sergeant York’s graveside, I called the attention of family members to the fact that the distant mountain was where he agonized over the decision to become a combatant in World War I. Few scenes are more descriptive of the fact that we all are buried in the shadow of our decisions. Arriving at Reverend York’s home, some family members traveling with us met him for the first time, but for all of us it was the first opportunity to meet Reverend York’s son, Colonel Gerald York, and granddaughter, Deborah—the Director of the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation.
With cherished moments of conversation tucked away in our hearts and a few photos in our cameras, we prepared to leave Reverend York’s home. After prayer, we began to move toward the door when Colonel York strode to a wall behind his father where he lifted something off of it that was hung there and said, “You should read this before you go,” and explained that it was a letter his father had written and sent to the Supreme Court several years earlier. It had been framed and hung there as a proud example of the Christian values the York family and most Americans have cherished. I asked Colonel York if he would mind reading the letter to us, and in a moment, he began to read his father’s letter, saying:
Reverend York’s Letter
To the Supreme Court of the United States of America:
After much thought and prayer, I feel compelled to express to you my heartfelt concern for our nation. I feel that you nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court hold the key to the continued blessings and progress of our great country, or the gradual downfall of our nation.
First, I would like to identify myself. I am the oldest living child of the late Sgt. Alvin C. York who was the most decorated soldier of World War I, and of whom the movie “Sgt. York” was produced by Warner Brothers of Hollywood, California in which Gary Cooper played the role of my father.
Our home was one where God was the head of the house and the Bible was read each evening, followed by prayer before retiring. This kind of family is what made America the greatest country in the world.
I am burdened and disturbed because of the downward trend our nation has taken the last few years. There are three things that greatly concern me about our great nation:
(1) Legalization of murder of unborn babies.
(2) Removing prayer from our schools.
(3) Same-sex marriages.
When I was a teenager, if a doctor performed an abortion, he would have been sent to prison. The legalization of murder of our unborn has taken the lives of about forty million babies under the guise of a woman’s right to choose. Who has the authority to approve of a mother murdering her unborn child? What choice does the child have?
Another serious concern is the removal of prayer from our public schools and forbidding invocations and benedictions at our graduation exercises and sports events. Congress is opened with prayer. We have a national prayer breakfast, the President and all elected officials place their hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, and prayer is included in all of these events. Adult men and women have chosen their course in life, but children need help in choosing their destiny. Since we have abdicated our personal responsibility to teach our children about God in our public schools, juvenile delinquency has risen and the juvenile courts and facilities are Þlled to capacity. Children are killing each other as well as murdering their parents. If our children feel they have no moral responsibility then they are just like the animals of the fields. What can we expect when there is no moral obligation to society nor to the importance of human life.
I urge you to oppose any legislation authorizing same-sex marriages. Legalizing same-sex marriages would undermine the biblical and traditional concept of the family in our nation and would further lead to our nation’s downfall.
Our children and youth are the future of our nation. Our country is only 226 years old. The following scriptures were quoted by my father many times in his speeches:
“The wicked shall be turned into hell and all nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)
“Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)
Even though America has forsaken the old paths, there is an answer for our dilemma. This promise is from the God of the universe found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Our land needs healing and you nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court have the power to turn our nation around. If this does not happen, I firmly believe that when you personally stand before God, the blood of the unborn will cry out against you, and you will be held responsible for not leading our nation in the right direction. This letter may not have any bearing on what you may or may not do, but I have done what I feel strongly about and feel that I have fulÞlled my responsibility to God and to my country, and what my late father would be pleased to know that I did.
George E. York
Retired Elder, Church of the Nazarene
One of the reasons America’s Founding Fathers chose to throw-off the government of King George III was that the King had installed judges who perverted justice. In the Declaration of Independence one of the grievances they listed against the King was that he instituted judges who were “dependent on his will alone” (grievance nine). The moral decline of America is not primarily the result of ballot-box choices of Americans, but rather the result of a new crop of tyrannical judges willing to pervert American law. Like Reverend York, many Americans could aptly say what the Signers of the Declaration of Independence said:
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
Rejecting the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” they have made America’s laws “dependent on [their] will alone.” What the Signers said of King George may also be said of such judges, that they are individuals “whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, [and] is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
May God make this present generation of Americans equal to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence in conviction and courage!
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