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Philosophy Lite: Support our national, local and spiritual heritages

March 18, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 17, 2011 at 10:18 p.m.

Raymond Smith

By Raymond Smith

Heritage is defined as the status acquired by a person through birth; values passed down from preceding generations.

Most of us have a family heritage that we look back on with pride. Many of our ancestors have been upstanding citizens and a few may go back 200 years.

Often there are those who have achieved a measure of fame. On the other hand, there may have been a scoundrel or two who managed to make it into the family history books.

I once had a friend who was an Armenian. He bragged that his grandfather was hanged for stealing Turkish horses. If you know of the animosity between the Turks and Armenians, this was a point of pride for him.

Owning a part of the past gives us a sense of pride, a standard to live up to and a good self-image.

I grew up on a dairy farm in the small town of Johnstown, N.Y., a historic area of the revolutionary war. The last battle of that war was fought a half mile from our farm. Sir William Johnson's mansion was about a mile away, he was administrator of Indian affairs for the crown. Johnstown and Gloversville were the glove center the world and Knox gelatine got its start there.

I feel as the writer of Psalms 16:6: "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." I wouldn't trade places with anyone else in this world.

I hear that our schools are teaching little about our founding fathers and about the idealism that made our nation great. Instead, they are promoting social agendas, homosexuality, tolerance and non-judgmentalness. One of our great American heritages is that of the freedom our forefathers sacrificed to give us.

If we do not remember and honor that heritage we may lose the freedoms that were so costly obtained.

The Jewish people have a great heritage that goes back to Adam. Knowing that God has picked your race for His chosen people has given them a great national identity. It is no accident that the genealogies of Jesus and other Bible personalities we carefully recorded.

Those of us who are Christians have inherited centuries of heroism that has brought the holy faith to us. Many risked their lives, others were martyred. But God has a plan that ensures the survival of that faith.

We need to do our part to ensure that others are made aware of that heritage and come to know salvation and eternal life in God's Kingdom. Many of us have the heritage of Christian forbears and in most cases that holy faith is carefully transmitted to the next generation.

What is your heritage? Do your children know about it? They need to know.

Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria

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