BARR: The Ark Of The Covenant Deserves Reverence And Respect, Especially Today

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With days and weeks filled with law practice, political goings on, serving as President of the National Rifle Association and other issues relating thereto, I find myself, like many of my colleagues, with little time for matters of the mind. I was, therefore, extremely grateful to a friend who last week invited me to a celebration in New York City for the unveiling of one of the most beautiful works of religious art I have ever seen — the Ark of the Covenant constructed as close as humanly possible to its biblical criteria and dimensions.

Being able to view up close this astonishingly beautiful and gold-laden artifact was itself worth the visit to the Big Apple. It was, however, the speakers who made the evening event truly valuable.

Many of the presenters, including a number of rabbis and biblical scholars, amongst who was Christian Coalition founder and current chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ralph Reed, were (at least in my experience) more inspiring and thought-provoking than any presentation or essay by a political leader in the modern era (with the possible exception of several speeches by Ronald Reagan, including his second inaugural address describing the “American Sound”). 

It was truly invigorating to step back from politics and controversies of the day and cogitate for those few hours on matters of import that far transcend such current events. The closest in oratorical proximity to politics that figured into last Wednesday evening’s celebration came in the form of thanksgiving to the United States of America, especially in its support for the creation of the State of Israel 76 years ago; support that has continued every year since then to the present, and particularly the bold decision by President Trump to ignore naysayers and doomsayers in his Administration and move the American embassy from Tel Aviv where it always had been, to Jerusalem.

More broadly and historically meaningfully, speakers offered heartfelt praise for the United States, primarily because of the uniqueness of our having been founded as a country in which civil power resides ultimately in the people. Indeed, as per the recipe for self-governance set out in our founding documents — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — the American people possess the power to change not only the participants in government, but the government structure itself if it is deemed to have failed in fulfilling its core mission to protect individual liberty.  

Such positions were enunciated clearly and proudly by rabbi after rabbi, and seconded by a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and by Ralph Reed, whose 15-minute presentation illustrated why he remains, nearly three decades after founding the Christian Coalition in 1995, a highly sought after speaker at major events across the political and religious spectra.

As noted correctly by more than one speaker at this event, our Founders drew on their knowledge of civic, political and government history in fashioning the tripartite and representative-based system under which the United States now operates, yet which too few of our countrymen fully comprehend. One of those early systems of civic and political engagement understood by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine, among others, was that of the Israelites seeking their freedom from Egyptian despots, and establishing the norms whereby citizens could, and should, govern themselves according to ethical and moral standards established by their Creator.

That both the United States of America and Israel today — many centuries after the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant into battles to preserve their freedom, and a mere 233 years since our Bill of Rights was ratified — remain true to that moral heritage is a continuing testament to the virtues espoused by our Founding Fathers and to one of their mentors, Moses. Lest We forget.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.