Saturday, May 21, 2022

In Context: Nations Reciprocating Freedom

Sometimes, in the midst of heated national debate or controversy, it's helpful to take a step back to remember our history and be grateful for how God has blessed this Nation.

One such occasion that naturally prompts reflection is when a leader of another nation comes to ours, meets with our leaders, and shares words with them in a formal address. This past week brought exactly that with the visit and address to Congress by His Excellency Kyriakos Mitsotakis from Greece. The “elected leader of the people who created democracy” addressed “the elected Representatives of the people who founded their country on the Greek model.”

Freedom is something to celebrate: “The birth of democracy in ancient Athens brought about an explosion of the creative spirit in Greece that produced the architecture, the art, the drama, and the philosophy that have shaped Western civilization ever since. The establishment of democracy in the United States has brought about the greatest expansion of human freedom and human progress the world has ever known. Ladies and gentlemen, last year, Greece celebrated 200 years since the beginning of our war of independence. And in a very strange but interesting twist of historical fate, it was the Greek people who were inspired by the foundation of American democracy when they rose against their oppressor to fight for their own freedom.”

Freedom is something to defend: “In the words of our Declaration of Independence: ‘Have we something lesser than other nations, that we remain deprived of these rights, or are we of a nature lower or less civilized, that we should view ourselves as unworthy to enjoy them and instead be condemned to an eternal slavery, subjected, like automata or beasts of burden, to the absurd caprices of a cruel tyrant. . . . These are rights which within Greece we have never ceased to defend by arms when times and circumstances have permitted.’”

Freedom is something to pass on: “The first school for girls, Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, in Greece was founded in Athens in 1831 by an American pastor, John Hill. The Hill Memorial School still continues to teach Greek children today in the historic center of Athens. … And in its own way, Greece reciprocated. Among the Greek orphans who were brought across the Atlantic into the United States to escape the fighting after 1821 were a future Congressman and a commander in the U.S. Navy. Young Greeks saved from the war became American educators and writers. Many of them were dedicated abolitionists, for the eradication of slavery was a cause whose urgent necessity spoke directly to men and women who had once been enslaved themselves.”

In one of his closing thoughts he said, “One of the qualities that Greeks value the most is ‘sophrosyne,’ a word best translated as ‘self-control, temperance, and harmony.’”

Related headlines:

US Congress makes Mitsotakis feel at home

Mitsotakis draws on common democratic bonds in US Congress speech: “On Tuesday Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivered a wide-ranging speech before a joint sitting of both houses of the US Congress in which he reflected on the common influence that the founding fathers of both nations drew upon, namely the ancient Greek idea of democracy to also highlight Ukraine's plight, divided Cyprus, the Parthenon Sculptures and the need to uphold the rule of law over authoritarianism and war.”

As the first to address Congress since COVID-19 began, Greek leader warns Congress about internal democratic erosion, citing his country’s history: “The Greek prime minister said the U.S. and Greece are entwined both by the inspiration America's founding fathers drew from ancient Greek philosophers in their efforts to establish U.S. democracy and the example the American Revolution set for Greek revolutionaries in the early 19th century when they waged an eight-year war of independence from the Ottoman Empire.”

Turkish Media: Mitsotakis Was Applauded 37 Times In 42 Minutes In US Congress: “…he indirectly called upon Congress to be extremely cautious in reviewing Turkish arms procurements, as the Biden administration is reportedly poised to sell Ankara 40 F-16 fighter jets and kits to upgrade dozens more in its fleet.”

Father, we thank You for our heritage both in You and in the work You have done in the West to give freedom to people in many nations. We trust in You to complete the good work you've begun until the day of Jesus Christ.

“he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (Acts 24:25)

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