The Man in Black was born on this day in 1932. One of America's pioneering musical icons, he was deeply committed to social justice, and was a strong supporter and friend of Israel.
In the mid-1990s, when Israeli cities, and particularly Jerusalem, were attacked by Palestinian suicide bombers, tourism to Israel fell off sharply. The Cashes, now in their sixties, returned to Israel for a fifth visit, and with their own money produced a TV film titled Return to the Holy Land. Throughout the film -- a musical travelog through pastoral, bucolic sites associated with the life of Jesus -- the Cashes assured their American viewers that Israel was as beautiful and tranquil as ever, and they should not hesitate to visit it soon. There is no mention in the film of the conflict with the Palestinians, nor of any internal debates or dissension within Israel. Despite the changes in Israel, and in world attitudes toward the Jewish state, Johnny and June Carter Cash’s zeal for Zion remained intact.Often described as a founding father of modern Christian Zionism, his solid liberal credentials, such as his activism on behalf of prison reform and as an advocate for Native American rights, do not necessarily mesh well with the picture many anti-Israel types would like to paint of his kind.
A deeply patriotic American, this is my favorite quote of his -
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine." - From Ragged Old Flag on The Great Lost Performance, recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, 1990A fantastic philosophy to live by. He would have been 83 today. He had his struggles and failures like anyone, but I'd say on balance he left the world a better place than he found it.