WHERE DOES THE U.S.A. STAND?
by Bishop John (Kallos) of Amorion
The tragic events that have been taking place during the past few years in our great nation have caused me to reflect and re-evaluate the status of our country, as a nation, as a democracy and as a Christian society. Over and over again, a burning questions keeps agonizing my mind. It is this anguish which I wish to share with you at this time. What is my ‘cri de coeur’, so to speak? It is this. Where do we stand as a Christian nation, and I am using the term ‘Christian nation’ loosely, for I have some very strong reservations as to our status as a Christian nation.
True, the maxim of the U.S. monetary system bears the words, ‘in God we trust.’ True, all sessions of Congress and State Legislatures begin with a prayer by a Chaplain. True, whenever we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we say among other things, ‘one nation under God.’ True, President Nixon has Prayer Services at the White House and prayer closets are to be found at Governors’ Mansions. But I ask you , is this popularity of religious expression one of deep conviction or is it merely a superficial one? Is not this so-called religiousness of ours actually an expression of religiocity? Is not our religiousness an insincere expression of our religious convictions? How many of us professed Christians truly believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Messiah? How many of us render only lip service to the teachings of Christ as promulgated by the Christian Church? How many of us possess a vital, vibrant, dynamic faith? Yes, a faith that will move mountains, and not a mere wishy-washy kind of faith, here today, gone tomorrow! How many of us are mere spectators during our corporate worship services, rather than being active, committed participants in the joyous celebration of the Holy Eucharist?
The sad state of affairs in America would indicate that we as a divided nation have lost control of our own destiny, and that we are now the victims of the forces for which we seem incapable of regaining control. For a multitude of reasons, the Christian Church today is not the influential, objective, moral guide for American society. In many instances, the Christian community in America is nothing more than a social service agency and a closed mutual admiration society. The reason for this is that secularism has become the core of contemporary American society. In this post-Christian age of ours, secularism is life organized apart from God, as if God did not exist nothing more, nothing less. So much so has secularism swept our nation, that the secularized American church tends rather to look to the secular world for moral guidance, rather than provide for the secular world the courageous moral leadership and guidance it so desperately needs and desires. And yet, it is this indifference to religion, which we as a nation can no longer afford. Thus, in our pragmatic culture, we have come to see the average American worshipping devoutly at the temple of science, as opposed to worshipping at the temple of God. Indeed, it can be said that many of us are playing God.
In the light of fading religious convictions, many Americans have substituted scientific so-called absolutes. However, to no surprise, the natural sciences have failed to solve our crucial social and moral problems, because the solution of such problems is not within the scope and province of a natural scientist, for his business is the accurate, detailed description of phenomena, and not the evaluation of human actions. His function is technological, and not ethical. His field is technology and not religion. That is why every reputable college or university should also have a department of religion, if it is to be a fair-minded institution of higher education, and to present both sides of the questions which are essentially religious in nature.
Where do we stand as a Christian nation? Is America a Christian nation? What of our crime rate which is the highest in the world? What about the quickie divorces which are being handed down by some of the courts of our country? What about the dope which has trapped the young people of our nation, who are the future of our country? What about the birth pills which everybody seems to be carrying with them nowadays, especially the single young men and women, not to mention our teenagers. Whereas birth pills should only be issued with a doctor’s prescription. What about the Supreme Court and the State Legislatures who are making abortion, the untimely death of a living fetus legal, thereby in this age of permissiveness granting a further license to promiscuity? Let us be ever mindful, that even if abortion is made legal, in no sense can it ever be considered moral, with the exception being in the case of therapeutic abortion. Our liberal thinkers are no less guilty of double standards and inconsistencies. On the one hand, they advocate the termination of capital punishment, the killing of guilty persons, and in the same breath they advocate the killing of a living innocent fetus, who after all is not the aggressor, and who too, has certain rights — the right to life, above all! Where then does the future and restoration of America lie? In the elimination of slums, hunger, discrimination, poverty, prejudice, liberation, etc? No, the future of America lies in the spiritual rebirth of every American citizen, by allowing Jesus Christ to enter into his or her own life.
And how is man to undergo this spiritual rebirth, wherein Christ will step into his or her life? First, and foremost, man must allow himself the luxury of introspection, of seeing himself as he really is. Man must start with himself. Then, having come to know himself as he truly is to relate to Christ as a person with all the theological consequences therein. It is only by relating and identifying with the person of Christ that we as Christians can begin to function as we ought to, and wherein the ‘ego’ will decrease as Christ will increase in us. The name of the game is Christian witness, in a skeptical age of confrontation and conflict. The power of change, the world has experienced by the early Christians who affected their whole world, and all its human and social relations and institutions. The power of changing our secular American society lies in man’s relationship to God and to God alone. Where do we stand as a Christian nation? In need of a change? Then, let us allow Christ to consume us and to overtake us. Let us ever be mindful of the Pilgrim Fathers who landed on Plymouth Rock and founded this great nation under God. Let us reflect on the honorable intent of the authors of the Declaration of Independence which gave birth to these United States of America. Let us commit ourselves to the spiritual rebirth of our country not on our terms, but on God’s terms. So be it.