Saturday, February 25, 2017

What Has Become Of Us?

When I think back nostalgically on the halcyon days of my youth, I am deeply troubled and filled with a profound sadness at our current state of affairs.  What has become of us as a nation, a culture, a country, and as a people?

When I look around today and see the confusion, divisions, the hatred, the lawlessness, the anti-Christian bigotry, and the hypocrisy that has Western civilization in its death grip, I just stare at all of this in shock and ask, “What has become of  us?”

        People can't reason any more. Who would have thought that someone like Bernie Sanders could have gotten so many votes on the Democratic side? Who would have thought that Malcolm X would be extolled as a great leader and freedom fighter? Who would have thought that moral perversions would be considered main stream and to oppose these things make you the nut case? Who would have thought that if you were patriotic you would be viewed as a potential danger to society? Who would have thought that you could cry, "Islam is a religion of peace" and so many would believe it. One world order, one world currency, one world government, one world with no borders...This was at the root of the Tower of Babel. What I really cannot understand is how so many Christians don't get this and still support causes that should make them ashamed. Problems are numerous on both sides of the political spectrum. But how can you not see that so many perverted and unbiblical positions are being championed by the left? If some Christians cannot support the right then fine, just don't support the left either. What ever happened to discernment? What ever happened to us?

I grew up on Sylvan Lake, a beautiful little village in southern Michigan. I lived the life of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. What a great place to grow up as a little boy; what an amazing time that was in our history. The guys I grew up with had two different beaches to swim at. We could go to any number of other docks on the lake to swim off, as well. I could kiss my mom goodbye after breakfast, fly out the door as a six or seven year old, hop on my bike and be gone most of the day… home for lunch and away I’d go again.

We had no fear or even any thought of gang violence, drug pushers, or child predators in those days. We spent our time swimming, boating, water skiing, ice skating, and  playing baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey. We had a community center on a little island connected by a bridge where we could play shuffle board, and table tennis.

My friends were your typical American kids. We were from all sorts of backgrounds— Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Chaldean—  a true melting pot in America culture. We never locked our doors in those days; things weren’t stolen out of your yard. Respect for authority was fairly normal. It would not have occurred to us in the 1950’s to call the police  any names, throw rocks at those we disagreed, with or yell down those with a different point of view.

I remember the first election that I got personally caught up with. It was the famous Kennedy—Nixon election. I remember people had strong views on these candidates, but there was a civility that accompanied our debates and discussions. What happened to those days?

I never thought I’d live to see the day that patriotism would be viewed as something to be ashamed of. Or that if you believed the Bible you were considered a relic from the dark ages. It never occurred to us in those special days of my youth to worry about what bathroom we should enter. Same-sex marriage was not a hot topic, and the music that made our parents a little nervous was the Four Seasons, The Beach Boys, Mo Town or those four guys with floppy hair singing, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” What ever happened to us?

I see my friends posting pictures on Face Book of their past, pictures of their childhood, pictures of their fathers who served in the Korean war or World War II. If my Dad could be here now, he would not recognize our country. We have lost our innocence, moral foundation, and our spiritual  connection with the generation that built this country. 

In those idyllic days of my youth, we were not brought up on fear. We were not taught to hate those with different opinions. Christian virtues and character ruled the day, even if you were not a practicing Christian. Now there is a bitter intolerance with anyone who dares disagree with you. The Progressives on the left act and speak as if their opinion is the only one that matters. If you dare differ with these folks, you are demonized as a racist, fascist, extremist, demagogue, or bigot. And boy do they love to paint those on the right as extremists and kooks. Look who's calling the kettle black! They leave little or no  room for disagreement. What ever happened to us?

Our nation was built on the foundation of Judeo—Christian values. When I was in sixth grade at Whitefield Elementary School on Orchard Lake Road in Pontiac, Michigan, we sang Christmas carols at our Christmas programs. It wasn’t considered politically incorrect to talk about Jesus. The Gideons came to our school each year and offered us a New Testament to those who wished to receive it. At Thanksgiving we learned how the Pilgrims worshipped, thanked God for their blessings, and celebrated with the Indians. Today such studies would land teachers out of a job. The Pilgrims are vilified as racists, who stole the land from the Indians. Christopher Columbus is viewed as a genocidal maniac, and on and on it goes. Revisionist history has made love of our country and our past something to be ashamed of. Our roots have been plucked up and our culture is being smothered by false guilt and is suffocating through self loathing. What has become of us?

If I wrote an auto-biography of my life, I would call it “Once Upon A Time On A Lake.” We enjoyed those peaceful, innocent days on Sylvan Lake. We could run over to our friends who lived on Hammond Lake, or Square Lake, or Pine Lake, or Upper and Lower Long Lake, Cass Lake or Huntington Lake. Just about everyone I knew either lived on a lake or knew someone who did.

As I grew up we had friends who were Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Arab, Chaldean—you name it and it was all a part of the melting pot called America. When we hit the 60’s, things began to change. How could a young teenager understand the early beginnings of a real culture war? I became a Christian in 1966. That event changed my life forever. It didn’t take me long to figure out that there were dark forces that were undermining everything in our culture that was Christian, modest, peaceable, pure and decent. The Weathermen, the Students-For-A-Democratic-Society, the Black Panthers, Jane Fonda, the anti-war movement, Tom Hayden and all other sorts of kooks and nuts hit the country like an atom bomb.

Fast forward three or four decades and we see the full fruits and result of this culture war that has divided us, scared us, and threatens to unravel the very fabric of this amazing country that our forefathers gave us.

I never dreamed I would see the day that so many ideas that are so contrary to the teachings of Jesus and His apostles would have such influence over the people and the nation that I love. This country is more divided than I have ever seen it.

The O.J. Simpson trial revealed to me just how great the racial divide is in our country. I remember the day the verdict in his murder trial came in. I was at a drive-through at McDonalds, and the black girl who handed me my order made racial and condescending remarks about the trial. What shocked me about that trial was how quickly it became about black vs. white, about us vs. them. Somewhere along the line, we lost our sense of true justice and right and wrong. I heard black people say, “Even if O. J. is guilty, I’m glad he got off because it evens the score.” Evens the score? No nation can survive when such thinking has rotted out its core values. For me, this was not about race but about justice, truth, and doing what was right. 

Today everything is about race. We had the first black president who recently left office, and he left our country more racially polarized than ever before. When a president honors, pampers, and encourages “Black Lives Matter,” we cannot hope for true biblical justice, unity, or racial harmony any time soon. And if you don’t support, “Black Lives Matter,” and “open borders,” and if you get nervous about swarms of Muslims entering your country, you are branded a racist, a bigot, and an Islamaphobe. Seriously?

I have a deep love and respect for all races and all people. I believe all men were created in the image of God. Every person has value and life is to be respected and protected. That was the worldview I grew up in. Even if you were not a Christian, our culture reflected those Christian values that we cherished back then. But that is not the case any longer.  Our parents and grandparents would overwhelmingly agree with me. My grandparents would be beyond shocked to think that we practice abortion and call it “women’s rights.” They would be shocked at the public discourse today. They would see the protests, vile speech, vulgar rap music,  the hate- filled rhetoric directed at those who disagree with one’s political views as being disgraceful, disgusting and shameful.  But then again, my grandparents weren’t brought up on political correctness, multiculturalism, anti-nationalism, or taught that their Christian heritage was bigoted and racist. What ever happened to us?

Does anyone who grew up in the 50’s and early 60’s really believe we are better off today? How can anyone seriously think that to have open borders is a good thing? Those of us who are concerned about the spread of Islam are not Islamophobic. To have a phobia is to be scared and frightened about something that does not exist. Just look at the history of this religion, and everywhere it goes it brings bloodshed, violence and chaos. The people who shout the loudest and stomp their feet the most vociferously about the so-called injustice that is being accorded to Muslims by our new president’s temporary ban on seven Muslim nations usually don’t have a clue about what they are talking about. What is wrong with temporarily stopping immigration from danger areas until we can come up with a just and safe plan to protect our nation from those coming in who may do us harm? Do these protesters really understand what the Quran, Sharia law, Islamic honor killings, female genital mutilation, Dhimmi laws and the sordid history of violence and terrorism of this religion is all about? We cannot afford to make any mistakes on this. If this temporary ban prevents just one person from coming and doing us harm, it would be worth it. Would our founding fathers or grandparents have thought it wise to open our border to millions of people who have an alien worldview, whose religion is also a political system of Sharia law, and whose ultimate goal is to bring the whole world into submission to Allah? Certainly not! 

I certainly welcome anyone into our country who is fleeing persecution or is threatened because of their Christian faith. But to open our border to any and all regardless of their intentions makes no sense at all. If we have nothing in our culture worth keeping, if we have no history that is honorable and worth remembering, if we have no spiritual heritage worth preserving— then have at it. Open up the borders to all the third-world countries and lets become a third-world country ourselves and celebrate the values, life styles, and faith of all those who desire to eradicate our faith and culture. If I wanted to live in Beruit, Tehran, Istanbul, or Cairo, I’d move there.

When I saw the huge anti-Trump protests in Washington, D.C. after the election of President Trump, I said to myself, “What has become of us?” People were so filled with hate. They spoke of murder, violence, bombings and insurrection. They used the most filthy and vile speech unfit for any decent viewer, let alone our youth. (All of this to protest the things Donald Trump did in his past and some of his coarse statements made during his campaign run for president.)

As a Christian, I don’t support any wicked thing Donald Trump has done. I call him to repentance for any speech or behavior that has broken the laws of God. But I do point out the blatant hypocrisy of these protesters. Where were they when President Clinton was impeached for his sexual predatory practices and the many women he groped, raped, and took advantage of? Where were they when Hillary Clinton and President Obama blamed the deaths of our ambassador in Libya on a video instead of on Islamic terrorism? Madonna cried out at the protest in Washington D.C., “I’m outraged.” Get serious! As a father of five children and  thirteen grandchildren, I’ve been outraged at her filth and vulgar lifestyle for a long time. Any woman who attended that rally and protest, if she has even the tiniest amount of decency, should be absolutely ashamed. What has become of us?

I received an article  written by a pastor entitled “How to Live Under an Unqualified President.” I agreed with most of what he said. The problem, however, is that based on that article nearly every president we have ever had would be unqualified to lead this nation. What has become of us?

I look back at my boyhood with nostalgic sadness. The great divide between those days and these days of my old age seems like an unfathomable gulf. The only bridge that can reconnect us with the values, convictions, faith and the hope we had in those days long ago is the bridge of God’s Word. Not until we are not ashamed to call ourselves Christians again, not until we are willing to walk with the Son of God and allow His gospel, His teachings, His laws and ethics to be our guide and our foundation will we be able to recover what we have lost. Not until people finally say to people like Madonna, “Just shut up! We’ve had enough of your vile and lewd behavior. We’ve had enough of your non-sense.” Not until we have people who are willing to embrace the absolutes of God’s holy law and repudiate the relativism of this Post-Modern generation will we see the recovery of all that we have lost.

When I see the hatred, the division, the prejudice, the policies based on false guilt and name calling, I look back wistfully at the days of my youth and I ask myself, “What has become of us?”