Stand up for both your country, God – go votePublished 12:00am Saturday, November 3, 2012
There are special people you meet through the years who make a lasting impression on your life. I will never forget meeting Col. (Ret.) Jerry Sage, a World War II veteran from Enterprise.
Many years ago, Sage was speaking to a local group of Civitans about his extraordinary military experiences and, in doing so, made some thought-provoking comments regarding religion and politics.
He gave God the credit for helping him accomplish heroic deeds and surviving brutal torture during World War II. “So many things happened to me,” said the old soldier. That was an understatement.
Sage told of his experiences as a guerrilla leader and saboteur with the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the forerunner of the CIA. His code name was “Dagger” because it was the only weapon he carried with him.
Using explosives and detonating devices, he and his men would blow tanks and other military equipment, as well as bridges, behind Nazi lines in North Africa. He was shot and stabbed numerous times, in addition to having his nose broken six times.
The retired colonel said he still suffered back pain due to German guards kicking him with their boots. He told of escaping his German captors eight times. Each time Sage was recaptured, he spent weeks in solitary confinement where he earned the nickname, “Cooler King.”
“When you’re alone in a cinder block room and given one potato a day, you’ll talk to God,” Sage recalled. At Stalag 13, Sage and other POWs dug tunnels beneath the camp where he devised a plan to hide tons of sand. In 1963, a movie was made about Sage and his men called, “The Great Escape,” starring Steve McQueen as Capt. Hilts, based on Sage’s experiences.
Col. Sage told Civitans that he would go through all his war experiences again to defend his country. The veteran concluded his speech with a statement about religion and politics that I still take to heart.
Though there’s an old saying about not mixing the two topics, I find that religion – or the “faith given once for all” (Jude 3) – impacts every area of my life as a wife, mother and writer. It’s more than churchgoing on Sunday.
When a candidate or party supports issues that go against Biblical principles, I cannot support them. As a citizen and a Christian who believes in the sanctity of life and marriage between a man and woman, I must stand up for what I believe is truth. I vote these core values by researching for myself the candidate’s record, not just what he or she says.
I pay my debt of gratitude to those who have fought and died for our freedom by exercising my privilege to vote. It’s also important to ask God for wisdom before going to the polls
I can still hear Col. Sage’s challenge, “People say, ‘Don’t talk about religion and politics.’ Well, your politics is your country and religion is your God. Stand up and be counted on both.”
Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.