Where do we, as a nation, look to find the roots of the "me and my agenda at any cost" mentality that is all-pervading these days? How has the idealism of "freedom and liberty for all" been perverted--by both left and right political factions- -into freedom and liberty for only those who endorse our views and purposes?

We can find the source of our nation's violence, prone and self-centered inclinations by looking inward. Our nearly single-minded focus this culture gives such things; from Saturday morning children's cartoons to Schwartzeneggar movies, to the many forms of martial arts with which our youth have become enraptured, is clearly seen. It seems to have become the national modus operandi that if we cannot gain willing cooperation, force and violence will always work. There was a saying among our forces in Viet Nam, "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out."

It is not the intention here to list or find remedies for all of our nation's social ills. There is no remedy now. Any objective historian, when comparing the United States with other great civilizations in history, can plainly see that we have gone too far. Rowing away from a waterfall with all of one's strength is certainly effectual--unless one is already over the edge, then no amount of paddling will work. The curious thing that seems to be happening is that those in the boat are unaware that the angle of their horizon has changed from horizontal to vertical. They are too absorbed in their amusements, hypnotized by their sports and recreation to notice that they have fed the souls of their children to a strange god we call television.

The time of year comes when the symbolic results of the moral cesspool we have created can be clearly seen--with the eye if not with the mind. It is a time when we again witness the basest of human imagination and moral decay as it is placed upon and hung around the necks and bodies of our children and passed off as an innocent holiday. We festoon those we like to think of as innocent and harmless with images of the most ghoulish and macabre nature, and then have the ignorance to wonder why they seem so unmoved when they witness such scenes in real life. We have gradually indoctrinated our children with a barrage of sensory stimulation that would have shocked our society even fifty or a hundred years ago.

National Public Radio just before Halloween aired a commentary in which the woman who had written the piece expressed how deplorable it is that such an innocent festival has been ruined by callous acts of violence against children. She went on to indicate that the pinnacle of tragedy occurred in last year's festivities when two children were mistaken, in their costumes, as rival gang members and gunned down.

How is it that our society is so blind and spiritually crippled that it does not recognize a cause and effect relationship when it not only stares it in the face, but kills its children? How can we be so surprised and feign such horror at the creation of our own hands? We dress up our little ones in attire that even Dante may not have pictured, calling it harmless fun, and then have the temerity and gall to express outrage at the violence perpetrated upon our children. Outrage is certainly called for but it should be directed at more than just those overtly committing the crimes. It should be also directed at parents who think that they can play the devil's games, even symbolically, and then when it comes time to pay the price, can cancel the debt by merely claiming that it was just a harmless holiday. They talk about having fit role models for their children and then dress them as the most twisted monsters their minds and budgets can conjure up.

A world heavyweight boxing champion is lauded and worshiped. He is highly trained to enter a small roped-off square and, before millions, pummels a fellow human being into unconsciousness in the most brutal manner that the rules will allow. He is literally trained and paid many millions of dollars to behave like an animal. But when outside that little enchanted ring, he behaves like an animal as he has been trained and paid to do, and commits the act of rape, we then punish him and confine him to prison. This must certainly be confusing to those to whom we pay these astronomical sums of money to act a certain way in one circumstance and then throw them in jail for doing it without pay.

Another former world heavyweight champion claims, since his conversion, that he enters the ring and does what he does for the "Glory of Jesus." Now let's get this straight: a man, claiming to represent the "meek and lowly" Jesus--the same Jesus who endured a phony trial and accusations, making not a word in His own defense; the same Jesus who allowed Himself to be tortured and murdered without raising a hand or voice against His tormenters; the same Jesus who asked His Father to forgive those doing such things to Him--this same Jesus is being represented by one whose sole purpose upon entering the enchanted ring is to bludgeon his opponent into oblivion with his fists? Kind'a defies reason, doesn't it?

It does not appear that any faction of our national makeup cares anything for human life or suffering as long as it is afflicted on behalf of their "cause", and against those they consider obstacles to it. Those who, on the one hand, would deplore the acts of murder in Oklahoma City will applaud as hundreds and thousands of frightened Iraqi soldiers are buried alive in their trenches by enormous American dozers without a shot being fired. These Americans then weep with emotion when the television cameras show how warmly those who surrender are treated by our soldiers. They give no thought to the fact that those Iraqi men they buried were fathers and husbands who loved their children and wives as much as they.

How did we get to this place in our history? Have we spent two centuries sowing wild oats into the minds of our children, weeding, cultivating and fertilizing the garden and now believe that we can pray to the God on Whose standards we still trample, asking that our effects will not follow our causes? Can we spend the week commending our nation for being the world's "rent-a- thug", then ask God's blessing for us on the weekend? Can we continue to pray to a God of love on Saturday or Sunday and prey on our neighbor the rest of the week?

The Jesus whom George Foreman claims to represent in the boxing ring inspired this statement--and it has never yet failed:

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soeth, that shall he also reap." Gal. 6:7.

This nation's reaping truly testifies to its sowing.

Written 12/96

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