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Faith of his fathers


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Scott Johnson

July 20 2017

 

Whatever political disagreements I have had with Senator McCain over the years, I am deeply saddened by the news that he is contending with an aggressive form of brain cancer. I found the occasions on which I have spent time in his company to be a personal highlight. He is an American original. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

In 2008 when Senator McCain was about to become the Republican nominee for president, I reread McCain’s Faith of My Fathers (written with Mark Salter). The book is subtitled “A family memoir,” but – read in light of Andrew Ferguson’s Weekly Standard article on books by the leading presidential candidates – we could see that it is a campaign book. Originally published in 1999, the book arrived just in time to promote McCain’s 2000 presidential candidacy. Although the book is indeed a family memoir, the heart of the book is devoted to McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war. I thought I might revisit my observations about the book this morning.

McCain generally avoided public discussion of his own prisoner-of-war experience before writing Faith of My Fathers. In chapter 7 of the 1995 book The Nightingale’s Song, for example, Robert Timberg explored McCain’s experience during the five-and-a-half years he spent as a prisoner of war. Timberg relegated comments about his research to the source notes in the small print at the end of the book:

 

(Snip)

 

What begins as a family memoir becomes something more as McCain tells the story of his own service; it becomes a story of death and rebirth. Seeking the martial experience in which his family had distinguished itself, McCain volunteered for combat in Vietnam. “I didn’t know at the time that downed pilots imprisoned in the North referred to their shootdowns as the day they were ‘killed.’” Flying a particularly dangerous mission over Hanoi, McCain writes: “I was killed.”

The rest of the book recounts his experience, severely injured, frequently tortured, occasionally near death, as a prisoner of war held by the North Vietnamese for five-and-a-half years (two years in solitary confinement). McCain’s account is self-deprecating, harrowing, and profoundly moving. As a prisoner of war keeping faith with his family, his prisonmates, his country, John McCain is reborn, but he leaves the book’s most surprising revelation unstated. In a family of heroes who cast their long shadows over his life, John McCain surpassed his illustrious forebears.

 

 

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Draggingtree

Can One Be Good Without God?

By Dr. Don Boys

Atheists have always resented Christians binding goodness to God although we insist that there is a necessary connection. In fact, atheists adamantly insist that they are as decent, kind, good, and altruistic as Christians are. I don’t believe that for a minute. Some atheists may be fairly good people, but generally, one cannot be good without God!    :snip: 

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