Last summer, that solar eclipse, entering North America over Oregon, and entirely visible only in the U.S., slashed through the very center of same-said country, the literal “heartland,” as if to show a divide, before exiting at Charleston, South Carolina — scene of the first cannon shots in the Civil War.
We are now in a cold one — the Cold Civil War of 2018. Never before, not during the protests over Viet Nam, not during the race riots, even the hippie-music-drug rebellion of the Sixties, has the United States (“one nation, indivisible”) been so divided. On both sides of the cultural and political aisles, the attitude is no longer compromise, in the tradition of Adams, Jefferson, of the Founding Fathers, but battles over every aspect of modern life, with the taking of no prisoners.
Discord and actual hatred pour forth from both sides — unfortunately even among some of us “Christian” conservatives. Oh, woe. One even has to be cautious how one mentions the Pope these days: there are those who are offended at what they perceive as disobedience to him while others look at the Vatican and see incipient heresy. Woe indeed. Division.
Will California secede one day? Even major state legislators there have broached the topic. Or will it divide in two? How about the rest of the Southwest? Texas? Is it not astonishing how major regions can declare themselves apart from immigration enforcement (“sanctuary cities”), scoffing at federal authority?
If the common folk are in a divisive mood, if kobolds of estrangement run everywhere, it is reflected by politicians in Washington who can agree on just about nothing as well as those on the topsy-turvy new-world-order stage.
Meanwhile, danger signals in the fabric of modern life itself. One speaks here of the Culture of Technology: many “techies” and other young people involved in web design, internet server companies, online merchant service, cell security, and the whole cyber milieu project an attitude that barely camouflages a strong and growing undercurrent of secular, mechanical, anti-Christian humanism, which is beginning to gurgle through the surface like lava from a mountain vent.
Whether Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Apple (a.k.a. Big Brother): there is a distinct sensation of antagonism toward those naive enough — technologically unsavy enough — to believe in Christ.
The lava is seen when, as just one example, an online teen columnist (for Vogue) attacks Billy Graham upon his death. “The big news today is that Billy Graham was still alive this whole time,” tweeted someone named Lauren Duca, “Anyway, have fun in hell, [expletive],” she wrote. She was joined by a reporter named Ryan McCrystal of the Bleacher Report (a sports site) who said he hopes Graham “rots in hell.” (“He’s reading the scripture in hell baby!” added John Semley, a contributor to the liberal online magazine, Salon, with glee.) Vile bile.
On the abortion front, outgoing Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards has been at full throttle trying to throttle (Christians) while an abortionist named Merle Hoffman is quoted as calling pro-lifers the “American Taliban” and publicly calling for them to be “bridled.”
That means silenced. That means, war. If the Civil War was over slavery, the Cold Civil War is over abortion, over homosexual marriage, over men turning into women and vice versa — reversing the order not only of a nation but of God.
A nation once “indivisible” now anything but. And that’s the way it is — Walter Cronkite might intone.
But we’ll sign off here with President Abraham Lincoln and his amazing words in a Proclamation signed on March, 30, 1863 (worth reading every syllable):
“Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;
“And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
“It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
“Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
“All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed…”
[resources: Where the Cross Stands]
[From Monsignor Pope: “On the one hand, pride is one particular vice, sinful in itself. On the other hand, it is a more general vice that is involved directly or indirectly in most other sins. Pride plays an especially large role in sins of malice. Sins of malice are those in which one directly and defiantly refuses to obey God, or refuses to be told what to do, or willfully insists that one knows better than God, the Church, or those entrusted with one’s instruction and guidance. Pride plays a more indirect role in sins of weakness. Sins of weakness are those in which one acts sinfully not so much out of defiance as out of a weak inability to do what one admits is right. Pride may be more indirectly present through careless neglect of growing in virtue or failure to seek God’s help.”]