If you listen to the news, it seems America hangs by a thread. But it’s hung by a thread before. My generation, the baby boomers, can testify to that.
If you’re around my age and think back, you might remember how it was 50 years ago. In our youth, we heard the radical intelligentsia’s message of “America Last.”
We heard our country relentlessly condemned for its capitalistic exploitation of the Third World, and that any contributions America made to civilization were due to geographical and historical luck, rather than any virtues held and practiced by Americans. A half century ago, we were told Americans had no right to be happy, content or proud, and the media masters worked overtime trying to convince us the American dream was a nightmare.
In our growing up, we were urged to support totalitarian economics and the belief that government and its swarm of unelected bureaucrats knew far better than we how to spend our money for the good of all.
Harvey Cox’s 1965 book, “The Secular City,” and its thesis that secularism, devoid of all spirituality, is the only city, was the humanistic mantra then as it is now, no matter how much verbal camouflage was deployed denying it.
The best of all possible worlds, said the secularist, is the one created by politicians without any reliance upon God. For nearly my entire life, the Washington mindset has been that poverty, prejudice, crime, war and all psychiatric distress will disappear once Washington is in control.
If you don’t believe that, it’s because you’re racist.
And all the while, we were asked to ignore the hypocrisy, greed, corruption and megalomania of those condemning America, because “their heart was in the right place.”
There’s nothing new under the sun. The madness evident in the political arena now has been seen by my generation before. “We stumble,” wrote John W. Fitzpatrick in 1976, because “we know neither who we are nor what we should be willing to discipline ourselves to achieve, and countries do not survive in that disoriented state if history tells us anything” (“Jesus Christ Before He Became a Superstar,” 151).
I’ll conclude by noting two things.
First, there are people who hate America, who want to govern America. In pursuit of their goal, they utilize every possible means to chip away at the values that made America what it is.
Second, for all the flaws inherent in the idea, our nation’s fate is entwined with Judeo-Christian values. Americans have traditionally believed our actions should be measured by a standard beyond our mind, such as God’s mind.
Secular, humanistic politicians don’t believe this. Should they ever succeed in their worldview, the long American experiment in democracy will come to an end.
But the Christian faith will live on even if America doesn’t. There’s no promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the gem of the ocean.
The faith that survived the Dark Ages will survive these ages.
And of that, I’m certain.
Kenny Chumbley, a lifelong resident of Rantoul, is a minister, author and publisher.