The noise of the crowd can be heard nearly a block away from the Town Hall. It is late spring, and very warm and humid in this small farming community. All the windows in the hall are wide open. There is no air conditioning.

The reason for the crowd is that it is an important meeting of the county’s board of education. All teachers and the public have been urged to attend. The meeting has been in session for about one hour. Board members and citizens emotionally fidget in reaction to arguments over next year’s school curriculum. No single issue dominates. The often shouted comments relate to all parts of the curriculum including the teaching of evolution and sex education.

The Board’s President is having increasing difficulty in keeping control and at the moment he is both banging a heavy gavel and shouting for order. Just then the strident words of two men rise above the noise and the crowd hushes to listen. They rage and rant back and forth with increasingly intense and angry retorts. At the peak of their verbal duel, their faces purpled and swollen with anger, both men bitterly shout in unison, “What are you doing to my country?”

The words strike like hard slaps to the face and both men fall silent and stare at each other. From the crowd a youthful voice hollers, “Hey man its everyone’s country isn’t it?” Both men shake their heads, turn away from each other and sit down.

This imagined town meeting is like a microcosm of what is happening in America. Strong-willed, dedicated proponents of both faith-based and progressive issues battle for both social and political control. When asked, representatives of both sides vow that they are solid citizens who love their country and are simply seeking to protect it and its citizens. So, how is it that so much love creates so much hate?

It appears that the common ground has been lost. What is that common ground? It is the Constitution of the United States. Its authors, the founders of this nation, fully anticipated a strong love of country. In fact they both encouraged it and included specific provisions to protect it.

Today, both interests actively attempt to strip away these protections in efforts to put their ideas and policies in control. While each side shouts out its love for America, the nation shudders as it is forcibly torn apart.

I am sure there are courageous voices out there somewhere shouting, “stop, stop, America is for everyone.” Can we not hear them, or is it too late?

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