It was the kind of Pope John Paul II quotation that was powerful and prophetic — but hard to print on a political bumper sticker.

“America will remain a beacon of freedom for the world as long as it stands by those moral truths which are the very heart of its historical experience,” he said, during his 1999 U.S. tour. “And so, America: If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace the truth — the truth revealed by God.”

Terry Mattingly leads GetReligion.org and lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a senior fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.

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