A deeply principled man and eventual national hero is suffering horribly in a Communist prison camp, in which communication between prisoners and others is strongly discouraged. When this particular prisoner’s spirits are at low ebb, an improbable expressionless figure appears and draws a cross in the sand, silently sharing the love of Christ. At this point, the woeful prisoner experiences a spiritual renewal; an uplift of hope and faith which helps him to carry on until his eventual release.
Does this brief yet relatively detailed summary encapsulate a series of events allegedly experienced by Alexander Solzhenitsyn or by John McCain? Does a complete lack of firsthand documentary evidence in the quarter-century after these events allegedly transpired cast reasonable doubt on whether they actually occurred at all? Does the unlikely level of similarity between the two stories suggest they are not biographical but mythical? Was this wonderfully uplifting story (like so many others) nothing more than a collection of free-floating pious fictions spread from one pulpit to the next?
I’d really like to believe that John McCain is a truthful fellow, but then I would have to wonder whether he has trouble sorting out his own experiences from those he has heard from some long-forgotten pulpit.