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Charlton Heston

>Charlton Heston, American Hero (1923-2008): R.I.P.

>From my cold, dead hands!Charlton Heston has been one of my favorite figures of present-day American history. I was a member of the NRA during Heston’s presidency. During that time (the Clinton-era 90’s) we liked to say “Charlton Heston is my President!” He served our country in World War II, was a beloved performer, marched with Dr. King, and inspired us to continue to preserve our liberty. “If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty, your own freedom of thought, your own compass for what is right.”

I had the privledge of attending Heston’s keynote speech on the final night of the Conservative Political Action Conference in February of 1999. His delivery that night was a sort of trial run with the home crowd before he delivered the same speech days later at Harvard. That address, Winning the Culture War, became one of Heston’s most popular speeches. I remember Heston being a very genuine and moving speaker. Both he and his oration inspired me that night. May we honor his memory by continuing to tirelessly stand for the preservation of our liberties against those who continue to tirelessly work against them.

Here is an extended quote from his ’99 speech along with links to the full text, audio, and video.

But, what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation?

Well, the answer’s been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

You simply disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don’t. We disobey the social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.

I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Viet Nam.

In that same spirit, I’ m asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives, and onerous laws that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful. It hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated, to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water Cannons at
Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort.

Full text and audio here.
Video here. Go to Archives, then Speeches, find the Harvard speech.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “>Charlton Heston, American Hero (1923-2008): R.I.P.

  1. >RIP Mr Heston!Thanks for the tribute, he was certainly one of many heroes as I grew up. I just watched Ben Hur the other night too! He will be greatly missed.

    Posted by hylander | April 12, 2008, 10:05 pm
  2. >Trust me, he was my president during the 90s as well.;-)I referenced his passing in my sermon on Sunday. Most were unaware.I loved so many of his movies.My top 3:Ben-HurTen CommandmentsPlanet of the Apes

    Posted by GUNNY | April 8, 2008, 3:01 am
  3. >Thanks for the tribute Jeff. Heston was certainly a great role-model for many. I appreciate his willingness to stand for what he believed in, especially his marriage of 50+ years. I, too, greatly appreciate his work in the NRA. I was a member as well, and look forward to the day when I can financially justify being a member again. I actually have Ben-Hur coming in the mail, so I look forward to watching Heston at his finest this weekend.

    Posted by Michael Freitag | April 8, 2008, 2:17 am

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