Birthday of three heroes

(John Andrews reflects) Today and yesterday we observe the birthday of three heroic men of letters, one of them also a great world statesman, another a great witness of the American spirit, and another a great Christian apologist. On November 30 were born Sir Winston Churchill (1874) and Mark Twain (1835). On November 29 was born C. S. Lewis (1898).

I call these men heroes not because any of them was infallible or unflawed. They were not. Yet each in his own way embodied some of the qualities of genius, purpose, and heart that speak to us of humanity at its best.

And none was ever uncertain of the line between sense and nonsense, or timid in drawing that line. Ask yourself, for example:

** What would Churchill say of the defeatism that contends free-world security is not worth 30 months of fighting and some thousands of our soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq?

** What would Twain say of the utopianism that professes angry shock when nature's fury and mankind's failings inflict misery at the mouth of the Mississippi?

** What would Lewis, the creator of Narnia, say of the militant secularism that preaches winter is better without Christmas?

The questions virtually answer themselves, it seems to me. Nonsense, damned and dangerous nonsense, would I contend be each man's reply.

All the more reason for a birthday tribute to three giants and their deathless legacy of truth-telling about the human condition and human possibilities.