On Saturday evening, my wife and I had a blast with another couple at a "Beatles" concert. Hundreds of people from all ages gathered to sing along to the classic hits by the Fab Four.
The outdoor event took place one day after John Lennon's 75th birthday — can you imagine? Picture him as a senior citizen! John's most memorable song "Imagine" is still listed by Rolling Stone magazine as the third most important pop song of all time.
John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman who is now a born-again Christian in prison. His book "The Man Who Shot John Lennon" tells his incredible story as he proclaims, "My life is all about Jesus now!"
Weeklong celebrations of John's birthday are underway. His widow, Yoko Ono, held a rally to form history's largest human peace symbol as she encouraged everyone, "Just start thinking peace." Radio stations nationwide are highlighting his songs like "Give Peace a Chance" and "All You Need is Love" while a traveling exhibit of his artwork goes to cities. On December 8, commemorating the 35th anniversary of his death, the "Imagine Peace" tower in one locality will beam the message in 24 languages.
John portrayed himself as a "dreamer" committed to fundamentally transform the world. He may have been sincere but when you examine his beliefs, he wasn't always grounded in reality.
At one time, John stated, "Christianity will go. It will vanish." He continued by saying that his band was "more popular than Jesus Christ." Lyrics from "Imagine" argued that we should discard religion and anything transcendent above or below. "Imagine … No religion too. Imagine all the people living in peace …You may say I'm a dreamer/but I'm not the only one/I hope someday you'll join us/and the world will be as one!"
John's cynicism may have come from a youth experience where he was banned from his parish church for laughing out loud during the sermon. A possible awakening may have come the year of his death as revealed in his own words, "I'm a most religious fellow… I was brought up a Christian and only now understand some of the things Christ was saying in those parables."
Let us hope that in his final moments John repented and put his trust in Jesus. Regardless, according to the Bible, he discovered an afterlife where what he sang about, "No hell below us, Above us only sky" was patently untrue.
Similarities with Barack Obama
As I have prayed daily for and followed carefully the career of President Obama, I'm convinced that he also is a "dreamer" intent on "fundamentally transforming" (his words) our world. Like Lennon, unfortunately, he is not always grounded in reality. He believes in the unscriptural, inherent goodness of man. He thinks if we ignore certain evil realities, partner with enemies and promote peace by highlighting and apologizing for our mistakes, "the world will be as one."
It's one thing to be a rock star composing idealistic, sentimental songs that generate controversy, crowds and cash. It's another thing to be a nation's leader, waxing eloquent making lofty speeches ("we'll usher in a new era of peace"... and this is "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal ...") stirring people about some utopian society that really is unattainable this side of eternity. We cannot afford misguided leaders making reckless decisions jeopardizing our national security and future generations.
While almost everyone wants peace, the fact is there will never be universal peace on earth until the "Prince of Peace" returns and establishes it. In the meantime, we "pursue peace" but must be vigilant to safeguard our national interests by peace through strength.
In 2009, President Obama gave a speech in Cairo quoting the Koran and proclaiming the dream of "a new beginning between United States and Muslims around the world." Withdrawing US forces from Iraq he declared, "We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq!" He heralded a "reset" with Russia and went on to promise reductions in military forces and our nuclear arsenal to show our peacekeeping intentions. He applauded a Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt (now overthrown and on death row) amidst an "Arab Spring" and celebrated "a new democratic Libya" as he withdrew our forces. And against the counsel of all his senior military leaders, he said we'd pull out our forces from Afghanistan and ignore the plea for a strong peacekeeping transitional nucleus.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came to America and pled with Congress to stand with our closest ally and the one democratic nation in the Middle East. Despite Iranian promises and threats to "wipe Israel off the map," our president celebrated a "nuclear deal" only a delusional dreamer could imagine.
Refusing to identify the enemy as Islamic jihadists, President Obama soft-pedaled them as "JVs" involved in "random violence." A military massacre was "workplace violence" and four Americans killed in Benghazi was not due to Islamic terrorism but rather a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand, provoked unfortunately by some offensive video.
Mr. Obama's attempts at appeasing enemies and apologizing for America are products of a fantasyland worldview. His quest "to find effective partners — not just in Iraq, but in Syria and Yemen and in Libya" was supposed to "create the international coalition and atmosphere in which people across sectarian lines are willing to compromise and are willing to work together in order to provide the next-generation a fighting chance for a better future."
"Strawberry Fields" Become Killing Fields
John Lennon wrote about "Strawberry Fields" as an idyllic childhood place where one could be taken to find peace. It was a real children's home in Liverpool, later torn down.
Over the past number of years, President Obama spoke platitudes and took ill-advised actions hoping he could take us to a place of peace in the Middle East. Ignoring history and reality, his decisions have now brought us to killing fields once again.
The Wall Street Journal described Obama's Middle East Muslim mess this way on Saturday, October 10, "A fighting chance for a better future in the Middle East? Make that a better chance for a fighting future. It is clear that the president's strategy is failing disastrously. Since 2010, total fatalities from armed conflict in the world have increased by a factor of close to four … Total fatalities due to terrorism have risen nearly six fold … Nearly all this violence is concentrated in a swath of territory stretching from North Africa to the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan and there is every reason to expect the violence to escalate …."
Time magazine recently stated in an article entitled, "The U.S. War Against ISIS is Going Nowhere" (10/5/15), "The American effort has failed in form and function. It will need to be completely reworked or dropped as a failure," stated a recently retired United States four-star general.
Anthony Zinni, retired Marine General and head of the Central Command (1997–2000) stated emphatically, "It's a mess!"
Sunday on 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft confronted President Obama: "What we're doing in Syria is not working …we're wasting half a billion dollars to equip 5000 fighters in Syria and in their battle most deserted or died with four or five left! It is an embarrassment!" Mr. Obama finally had to admit, "It did not work," all the while talking about some elusive "community of nations" defeating ISIS.
And all the above while US intelligence analysts at CENTCOM Headquarters admitted US military supervisors have skewed reports to present favorable results. Sounds similar to the glowing news we get concerning our booming economic recovery while 53 million remain on food stamps, over 90 million are out of work and our national debt is now $19 trillion!
Ignore the current refugee crisis as millions flee these Middle East countries? Turn aside from the barbaric slaughter of Christians by radical Islamists throughout the region? Don't attach too much significance to the wholesale destruction of historic Christian sites, churches and irreplaceable, sacred relics?
John Lennon loved to sit with his wife, Yoko Ono, sometimes unclothed, singing anthems of utopian foolishness, "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." It sounds sentimental but it's not rooted in reality. The similarities with our president's approach are frightening.
Here's what it means to live in the real world. A new book entitled "Inside I.S. — 10 Days in the Islamic State" unfolds how a respected German reporter secretly embedded himself for 10 days within the Islamic terrorists.
He stated, "they are preparing a nuclear tsunami that will be the largest religious cleansing in history." They plan to kill hundreds of millions. "They now control land greater in size than the United Kingdom … Every day hundreds of willing fighters from all over the world come. They are the most brutal and most dangerous enemy I have ever seen in my life."
When our president spoke at the United Nations and told world leaders that violent extremism wasn't limited to any one faith, British Prime Minister David Cameron had the courage to publically redress him, "Barack you are quite right, that every religion has its extremists, but we have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given ISIL to us ...."
John Lennon once wrote a song entitled, "Beautiful Boy" after the birth of his son, Sean. It was featured in the film, "Mr. Holland's Opus." The line, "Every day and in every way I am getting better and better" is the exact opposite of what's happening in the Middle East powder keg today.
England gave us the Beatles, John and his albums like "Double Fantasy." It also gave us Winston Churchill and wise leaders like Mr. Cameron. Let us pray for our president in his final year to come out of his fantasyland and into realityland before it's too late.