"Then Pilate said to him, 'So you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — I to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.' Pilate said to him, 'What is truth?'” —John 18:38
Pilate didn’t realize he was looking at Truth in the face.
Truth is all around us, but are we paying attention? Are we standing up for Truth?
On this Memorial Day, I was thinking about how we can honor the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our freedoms. I have asked veterans this question over the years. How can Americans best honor and properly mourn U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States armed forces?
These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice. We know that our freedoms are at risk. We have seen our freedom of religion and freedom of speech threatened and our voices canceled out.
How does this tie into Memorial Day? It’s about taking a stand — standing up for something.
What are you willing to stand up for? Are willing to stand for what is right and just? Are you willing to stand up for our faith and for Truth?
As a communications coach, I created a talk and workshop many years ago called "Stand Up Speak Up," to train people to create public platforms and become thought leaders. Today, that title has a deeper meaning. It’s about standing up for Truth — for Jesus.
Pope St. Pius XII said, “To live without risk is to risk not living.” What risk are you willing to take to stand up for Truth?
I personally find inspiration in those who use their voices to speak up. Dolly Parton recently released her new album, “Rockstar,” featuring an original song she wrote called “World on Fire.” She performed that song at the 2023 Country Music Awards, and the lyrics immediately got my attention. The song is really a series of questions Dolly is asking. She starts with … "Liar, Liar, the world is on fire, what are we going to do if it all burns down?"
"What are we going to do when it all falls flat?" she asks. "How will we heal the great divide? What is Truth?" And she calls on Heaven’s name to help us. She calls on God and asked what happened to "In God We Trust?"
These are critical questions. I don’t know where Dolly Parton stands, but I do appreciate the "Queen of Country" using her very large public platform to evangelize. "World on Fire" may seem like deeper song lyrics than most from Parton's collection. She seems to be expressing her frustration with modern culture using her iconic voice. "Can we rise up? Can we show some love? Do we just give up or make a change?"
Her swelling outro offers a solution: "Show some love. Let's rise above. Let's make a stand. Let's lend a hand. Let's heal the hurt. Let kindness work. Let's be a friend. Let hatred end."
Dolly is not alone. Other public figures have taken similar stances.
Tim Tebow stands out. A two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, and a former professional baseball player, Tebow famously penned a Bible verse, John 3:16, on his eye during his collegiate career at Florida. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
He was also known for kneeling in prayer on the field. He got some backlash for it, but he never backed down.
University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh stood against abortion during last year's elections, urging Michigan voters to reject Proposal 3, which gave us abortion on demand up until birth, among many other laws now in our state constitution.
Appearing on the Paul W. Smith Show on WJR (950-AM) radio, Harbaugh — who made headlines for his strong pro-life views during a speech for a Plymouth-area pro-life fundraiser — urged listeners to reject Proposal 3, the so-called "Reproductive Freedom for All" constitutional amendment. Harbaugh was joined on the radio program by Fr. John Riccardo, executive director of ACTS XXIX, who argued the proposal’s vague legal wording would open the door to unlimited abortion in Michigan and eliminate a host of common-sense restrictions on the practice.
Despite the backlash from pro-abortion supporters, he never backed down.
Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman have been in the entertainment industry for 30 years. They have worked with Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony-Columbia and Marvel Entertainment, CBS, Fox, New Line Television and Touchstone, TNT, and HBO.
Responding to a call from the Lord, Cary and Chuck left the secular entertainment field more than 10 years ago. Since then, their projects have included faith-based films. Their latest release is in the horror movie genre, but it is more of a psychological thriller about spiritual warfare; a movie likened to C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters. The movie "Nefarious" received a 33% positive rating from the movie critics and 96% positive rating from the fans.
They got pushback, but they never backed down.
These are just a few examples of people "Standing Up and Speaking Up," and at the center of it all has been God.
So, on this Memorial Day, as we honor and mourn those who gave their life for this country, I think of that pledge, “In God We Trust.”
Vanessa Denha Garmo is a Communications Strategist, Evangelist, Christian Coach and host of Epiphany on Ave Maria Radio. She has a Master’s Degree in Communications and is the founder of Epiphany Communications and Coaching. Follow her on Twitter Instagram, LinkedIn @vanessadenha and Communications Eangelist Coach Vanessa Denha Garmo of Facebook.