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The opposite of faith is mistrust and disbelief. In its more extreme form it is paranoia in which a deep and overwhelming fear is present.

The writer of our text speaks of 'confident assurance' and 'the evidence of things not seen.' We have faith in many such things, some of them abstract instead of concrete, such as 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'

This idea has given shape to our nation over the centuries. It has motivated people to take the actions of public service, elected office, and military service. It has required of them sacrifice, including the ultimate sacrifice, their own lives. As I think about our faith in ideals such as 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' I think about a line from the movie Gettysburg in which Robert E. Lee says to his second-in-command, James Longstreet, 'they do not die for us' by which he meant he and Longstreet.

Those who have served and died in far away places such as Verdun, the Ardennes Forest, Pearl Harbor, Tawara, 'Pork Chop Hill,' DaNang, and Baghdad, have died not for their leaders, they have died for us -- their families, friends, and even for those with whom they politically disagreed.

Those who rushed into the Twin Towers on that fateful and tragic September morning, did not die for us, they died for those they were trying to save and rescue. Those that were recently remembered right here in our city a few weeks ago who died serving our communities and state in the line of duty, died so that we might be free and safe.

They believed in this nation. Many believed in God. They believed in this great American experiment. They had faith, they had a 'confident assurance' that this radical ideal of democracy would work. And it has, hasn't it! (Not perfectly, but it has worked.)

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