It is a place or time of darkness and threat, of fear and oppression. People are suffering. They are dying. It is a time when a man waits for his fate, expecting to be agonizingly tortured to death. He is afraid. He is distraught.
In such a place, a man’s heart reaches for comfort. In such times, man turns to God.
Faith in our religious beliefs is one of the most compelling forces in history. It drives that extra step, it calms the panic of fear, it comforts the sorrow of deep loss. Christians lean on God and the Lord Jesus Christ in their most trying times. They also, when they can, reach out to one another.
There is a tradition in Christianity. A tradition passed down by priest and by nun, by country pastor and puritan. It was shared in secret meetings hiding from Soviet guns, it was preached from makeshift pulpits in the jungle’s depths, and it was told around campfires by men who kept their boots, rifle, and Bible in a saddlebag. It is the sharing of the symbol in the dirt.
Early Christians, in times of trouble, unable to speak aloud their faith, would trace the sign of the fish or the Cross in the dirt; a secret communication to tell their troubled brothers and sisters that they were not alone. I am here, it said, I believe. He is with you. This tradition has traversed the ages. It was there in Nazi Germany. It penetrated the Soviet Gulags. It survived the jungle death camps of Vietnam. In his great time of need, the sign of the Cross brought hope to John McCain.
That is the story of the Cross in the dirt. Some outsiders have concluded that, because the symbol was shared with two different men in nightmare conditions during the same century, John McCain must be lying about his time as POW. It’s hard, sometimes, to fully appreciate the vileness and ignorance of the DailyKos crowd in America. Harder still, though, is accepting that the biases of the leftwing press are so insidious as to give the conspiracy fever-swamp the veneer of legitimacy. So left wing websites and press outlets have given this unfounded conspiracy air time and treat it like a genuine question, so desperate are they to attack Senator McCain.
The forces of the left are marshaling against John McCain. We know this. But which forces, I must ponder, are compelling them to attack his moment of solace in the hands of God?