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For some, freedom is not an abstract principle

October 17, 2012

BY Wyatt Emmerich

The little girl couldn’t have weighed more than 70 pounds. She was dressed in a silk oriental robe. As she hugged me with all her might, she whispered in my ear, “I love you. I will pray for you.”

After a rough day, I was taken aback by her words, which rang in my ears with a transcendent power.

The Korean youth choir put on quite a show at the Covenant Presbyterian Church of Jackson last week.

Cal Wells called me that morning, imploring me to go. He had seen the program with 900 Belhaven students the night before. There were 10 standing ovations. “It’s really uplifting,” he told me. “To think that but for America, none of these people would even be alive.”

Having all the children walk into the audience and hug everyone was a simple and honest expression of gratitude. South Korea enjoys enormous wealth - both spiritual and material. If not for America, they would be under the dark rule of a communist tyrant and these children wouldn’t be.
Prior to the show, Pastor Billy Kim spoke. Billy Kim is the Billy Graham of Korea. In fact, Kim was the translator for Graham during his immensely popular Korean tour attended by millions.

Kim spoke of being a poor 12-year-old boy in Korea. He shined boots for the American soldiers. One soldier, Carl Powers, was charmed by Kim’s brightness. He arranged for Kim to come to the United States and attend the Bob Jones College in South Carolina.

This was no small feat for Powers. He passed up nine rotations back to the U.S. as he strived to convince Kim’s mother to let him go to the U.S. Imagine! Staying in a war zone year after year, just to arrange for a young Korean boy to go to school in America. How improbable is that?
Improbable, yes. Impossible, no. Kim did get educated in America. He returned to Korea to lead an organization that has founded 9,000 churches all over the world.

We forget that just a few decades ago, the world was in a global struggle between freedom and tyranny, between democracy and communism. To South Korea, this struggle is far from over. It is a daily threat in their lives. Even today, we have 28,500 American troops defending South Korea from a crazed communist fanatic.

It was not so long ago that America was full of communist sympathizers. Many intellectuals believed communism was a higher evolution of government. They believed Fidel Castro, Mao and Stalin were misunderstood and vilified by a biased, capitalist media.

In fact, these madmen turned out to be far worse than even their greatest critics imagined. Over time, communism was exposed as a complete fraud — politically, economically and morally. It took the tragic loss of a hundred million lives to learn this lesson.
In America, the staunch anti-communists were condemned as right-wing fanatics. In retrospect, they were right. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their vigilance to freedom.

Just look at North Korea and South Korea. Per capita income in South Korea is $32,000. In North Korea, it is $1,800. In South Korea, there is freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In North Korea, there are prison camps full of hundreds of thousands of people who dare to question The Great Leader. Try to leave the country and you will be shot.
There are 18 million Christians in South Korea, nearly a third of the population. In North Korea, there is only worship of The Great Leader, who stays in power by threatening the world with his nuclear arsenal.

It has only been 23 years since the Berlin Wall was destroyed. This was a wall to trap people in their own country. Many a German was shot down trying to scale the Berlin Wall. Meanwhile, America’s problem is keeping people out.

Communism envisioned a “dictatorship of the masses” that would replace a democratic republic. It was a fundamental threat to our way of life.
Likewise, radical Islam calls for “Sharia law” to replace our current form of government. Sharia law means law based on the literal interpretation of the Koran - stoning of adulterers, cutting off the hands of thieves, and the subjugation of non-Muslims.

If you want some insight into radical Muslim thought, Google “Ayatollah Khomeini’s Little Green Book.” This is a collection of “fatwahs” or “Islamic pronouncements” by the founder of Islamic Iran.

Khomeini writes, “There are 11 things which are impure: urine, excrement, sperm, bones, blood, dogs, pigs, non-Muslim men and women, wine, beer, and the sweat of the excrement-eating camel.”

Non-Muslims, according to Khomeini, are no better than excrement. Is it any wonder adherents of radical Islam feel free to slaughter non-believers? And this is the country we are about to allow to develop a nuclear weapon.

 Like communism, radical Islam is a fundamental threat to our way of life. We must resist it. We must be under no illusions that such fanaticism can be allowed to flourish in the United States. We cannot allow the vagaries of moral relativism to obscure right from wrong.
This is not a new issue. In 1940, Congress passed the Smith Act, which sets criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S.

government. Two hundred and fifteen people have been indicted under the Smith Act, including communists and fascists. In 1957, the Supreme Court reversed a number of those convictions and weakened the law, but it is still on the books.

In 1949, the Supreme Court heard a case in which the rantings of an anti-semitic, pro-Nazi priest had incited a riot. A majority on the court overturned the conviction. In a dissent, Justice Robert Jackson wrote, “The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”

There is a difference between socialism and communism, radical Islam and peaceful Muslims, the Tea Party and Nazis. The difference is respect for our republican democracy, respect for liberty and disavowal of the forceful overthrow of our Constitution. If we are truly determined to defend freedom, we should have no tolerance for groups that openly advocate its destruction.

Ask the peaceful people of South Korea, where my father fought and 36,000 Americans gave their lives for good cause. For them freedom is not just an abstract principle. It’s a day-to-day battle between life and death.

Wyatt Emmerich is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at

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