I never thought I’d be a dog person. But then, in 2015, when my sweet kitty died, I wasn’t yet living in a house with a huge fenced yard. The neighbors to the left of me, back of me, across the street and about everywhere within a five-block radius all had dogs. After I fed a box of treats to my neighbor’s two German Shepherds, I realized I needed a dog of my own. Enter the Animal Protection League of South Carolina, where the neighbor two doors down volunteered. After a two-week adoption process (including references – these folks were serious – 18-month-old Podrick came home to live with me in December 2017. He’s been the best of companions, especially in the last plague year. (2020, the year I finally became a stay-at-home dog mom.) He’s never chewed up any shoes, or jumped on couches or beds. He’s simply been the best dog around.
From a speech I gave to my local Toastmasters club this morning, Friday, Feb. 5.
Credo – the word is Latin, and means “I believe.” It’s the first word of the traditional Latin version of the Nicene Creed. It’s the basis for our word “Creed” in English.
Ever since I joined an Anglican church I’ve said the Nicene Creed each Sunday. The creed we repeat distills the essence of Christian belief into just a few sentences. By saying it each Sunday, we remind ourselves of the faith we profess.
The tumultuous year just past made me think about all my beliefs. We’ve been through such a time of uncertainty – and we’re still going through that today. Between a pandemic, riots, uprisings, and a troubled election, we’ve been through the wringer! Our new national leadership started off by asking for unity. I thought I’d explain to everyone some of the things I believe. Then you can decide – would you like to be unified with me?
I believe in absolute truth. I believe there is truth, and it is knowable. I cannot believe in relative truth, “my own truth,” “true for you or not for me” or whatever the current catchphrase is. I believe that God is God and Jesus is His son, the way, the truth and the life. That’s about as definite and exclusive a truth statement as you can get. I also believe that people who don’t believe that can be some of the best people in the world, and I’m honored to have some as my friends.
I believe in free speech. Period. Free speech is any speech. Especially speech you don’t like. Hate speech. Lies. Everything! It all needs to be said, and uncensored. Because once you shut someone up – you don’t make their thoughts go away. You make them go underground, breeding resentment. Bad ideas can only be conquered by good ideas – and the free exchange of ideas is necessary for a self-governing society.
I believe in diversity. I believe God made our world – and He made it varied. From all the different types of plants, to the many animals and the different races of man – I think God loves diversity. It’s His handiwork, after all.
Most especially, I believe in diversity of thought. If everyone in a group thinks alike, what’s the need for most of ‘em? That’s kinda boring. One of the reasons I love my TNT Toastmasters club is because there I meet many people who don’t believe the same things I believe. Who don’t share my opinions. I learn from them. I learn to test the strength of my beliefs. Together we learn empathy.
I believe in capitalism. Willing buyer, willing seller. Beautiful! The invisible hand of the market, as Adam Smith has written, does more to provide the needs and wants of the populace than any top-down plan.
I believe in the unborn’s right to life. (Oh, I think I might step on some toes here.) I believe that abortion is the taking of that life. It is a tragedy – and one that should only be a last resort in the most EXTREME of circumstances. And I believe that the overwhelming majority of abortions today are not performed in extreme circumstances.
I believe Western Civilization, from the Renaissance, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution through now, has done more to lift more humans out of poverty – both financially and culturally – than any other civilization extant. Our scientists have done everything from define the law of gravity to go to the moon and beyond. It was the British navy which enforced the abolition of the international slave trade. We have a priceless inheritance and we squander it when we denigrate our culture. Any civilization that can give us Bach, Newton and Shakespeare is worth respect.
I believe that the United States is special. And no, it’s not just because I was born here. The term “American Exceptionalism” is thrown around and misunderstood. Here’s what it means: that it is indeed exceptional for a group of people to devise a means to govern themselves, and then keep to it for over two centuries. That we from our founding have a Bill of Rights. That in our system, the leaders are supposed to serve us, the people – not the other way around. That America is a hope, a dream, of making your own way, unfettered by remnants of feudalism alive elsewhere in the world. That indeed makes our country – EXCEPTIONAL.
Here, in short form, are just a few more of my beliefs. I believe:
That adults have the common sense to know what is best for their own children’s education
That each person has the right to self defense by owning a firearm.
That no one has the right to sail through life “unoffended.” Buck up, buttercup.
That bias is evident in any source of news – and it is responsibility to consume news carefully and critically.
Those are just a few of my beliefs. You may not agree with each one. And that’s okay! But I do request – no, require you respect my right to my beliefs, and not think I deserve cancellation for holding any of them. If you can do that, then yes, we share unity.