From my vantage point, yesterday was not a good day for America.
Not a News Flash: Vulgar rhetoric has been increasing in recent years. Specifically, the use of the F-word seemingly has become acceptable language. Not just from a shock inducing comedian doing his routine in a darkened comedy club but from politicians, students, everyone. I received a business form letter yesterday from a lady wanting to sell the church some sort of photo software. In one of the opening sentences she wrote, “Your work in the world is so f–ing important, and I am so passionate about it that I am offering my gifts to help YOU reach more people…” I wrote her back, “Dear Heather, here’s a tip for you: Don’t use the F-Word in an e-mail to a pastor if you are trying to sell him some kind of service. He will think that you are not professional and will automatically unsubscribe from your email list.” What is happening to our language when this is an acceptable business practice? The de-evolution of our language hit the accelerator in the last election when both the Elephants and the Donkeys seemed to think crass talk was standard election verbiage.
Respect and love for our fellow humans has taken a hit yesterday too. We have seen the stories on the confrontation that took place with earshot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC between a group of Catholic high school students and a native Americans and other protesters. Honestly, I don’t know who was “right” and who was “wrong” but I know this, we are far from the dream of Dr. King when he concluded his famous speech with these words: “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” (Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream). Clearly, we are not free at last from harsh and vulgar rhetoric, misunderstanding, blaming, shaming and demonizing those who have a different view from ours.
Then in what could only be described as the low point in our Republic’s history took place yesterday. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that allows late term abortions up to the point of birth in the State of New York. This infamous moment was met with cheers from the people assembled when the bill passed the state senate. Cheers as if the New York Yankees had just won the World Series. Cheers? The soul of our nation was being ripped out and there was applause and revelry. Praying, weeping, not cheering should have been the response. We have devalued life so much that we cheer when the potentiality of the most innocent ones in our society are allowed to be exterminated. Dear God, this was not a day to cheer, but to confess and weep for our Nestea plunge into the abyss of darkness.
Ironically, at a Florida bank yesterday, five people were murdered in the latest mass shooting when a 21-year-old gunman entered the bank and started shooting. It’s barely a blip on anyone’s radar this morning. We’ve grown accustomed to these stories and tragedies. Life has taken on such little value that the horrific is cheered and the tragic is ignored.
What is wrong with us? Our moral compass is not simply veering us off course. It has been shattered and we are wandering aimlessly and directionless. Isaiah’s warning is as true for 21stcentury America as it was for Judah in the 8thcentury BC when he wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20).
More than ever, we need “God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done in America as it is in heaven.” Yesterday was not that day. Let’s pray that today and tomorrow can be.