I gave a talk yesterday (link to copy of speech) to a full school assembly (including some adults) at St. Mary’s Church in Jackson, Tennessee (pop. 40,000). I had our Sarah, 10, and Joseph, 8, stand by my side. I explained that no matter what a person’s age, they can make a great impact in society. For instance, I said Joseph and Sarah recently stood in solidarity with a group of people in San Bernadino, California, who were praying the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic. In North Dakota, Sarah stood on a sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic, pleading with pregnant women not to go in — alongside a group of “Collegians for Life” students from Morehead State University. I exhorted the students to go to God in prayer about ending abortion, write letters to the editor of their town paper, raise funds for local crisis pregnancy centers… (The latter two, I suggested, could be class projects.)… Earlier in the week, we visited the memorial at the Oklahoma City bombing site. (They had just recently commemorated the 11th year anniversary.) There are black walls on either side of what used to be the Federal Building, two open doors — and empty space where the rest of the building used to stand. The minimalism is quite impactful. What’s even more impactful is a life size statue of Jesus just across the street, His back turned and His head in His hands. The caption: “And Jesus wept.” …We headed into Brinkley, Arkansas, where we visited the Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park and Museum. On Oct. 27, 1815 the land survey for the Louisiana Purchase began at a point in the woods 22 miles south of here. After the survey, America would buy 830,000 square miles (spanning 14 current states), for less than 3 cents an acre ($15 million), from France. In the museum was a statement at the time from Gen. Horatio Gates to President Thomas Jefferson: “Let the land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a song.” [The irony was it wasn’t really France’s to sell, or ours to take. It was the Native American’s. The Native Americans who we swindeled (broken treaties) slaughtered and pushed the rest off the land almost altogether. Given what we’ve done to the “land” since (global warming, acid rain, urban sprawl, drastically diminished habitat…) you’ve got to wonder if the land is (or was) in anyway ‘rejoicing.’ And given what we did to the Native Americans, you’ve got to wonder how much ‘Jesus is weeping.’ Maybe in the New York Harbor, there should be a Statue of Liberty size sculpture of Jesus with his back turned to America — and Him posing [read: crying] like He has been posed in Oklahoma City.