61: Swearing on a Double Cheeseburger
We are living in unusual times. Christians, once the life–blood of America, are banished to the margins, denied the right to speak and sometimes accused of “hate crimes.” How should we respond? First, we must reaffirm our life–long determination to follow Jesus and his Word, whatever the consequences. In addition, we must recognize what is happening around us in order to speak truth with clarity and calm understanding.
Just what is happening? An earth–shaking, historic change of religious worldview.
On September 10, 2009, Patrick Buchanan, seeing our social unrest, wrote of America “coming apart”:
We seem not only to disagree with each other more than ever, but to have come almost to detest one another. One half of America sees abortion as the annual slaughter of a million unborn. The other half regards the right–to–life movement as tyrannical and sexist. Proponents of gay marriage see its adversaries as homophobic bigots. Opponents see its champions as seeking to elevate unnatural and immoral relationships to the sacred state of traditional marriage.
The question invites itself. In what sense are we one nation and one people anymore? For what is a nation if not a people of a common ancestry, faith, culture and language, who worship the same God, revere the same heroes, cherish the same history, celebrate the same holidays and share the same music, poetry, art and literature?
There are many examples of this profound cleavage in the body national and religious. The English under George III called the rebellion of their American cousins “the Presbyterian revolt.” Many early Americans learned the Westminster Children’s Catechism, whose first question is “Who made you?” to which the child answered, “God.” That notion of God as Creator reappears in the Declaration of Independence (1776): “We hold these truths to be self–evident that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Today, Disney’s new children’s catechism, says: “When kids ask, ‘Why do leaves turn color? Why are there dew drops?’ the perfect answer for every parent is: ‘The fairies did it’” (Disney’s Fairies Franchise, August 2008).
The founding notion that God is the Creator and that the Bible is our cultural arbiter is disintegrating, even in official procedures. Holding a Bible in his hand, Clinton went to an Easter service the morning he was later religiously serviced by Monica Lewinsky in the White House. When Obama was sworn in (a second time) at the White House by Chief Justice Roberts in January 2009, there was no Lewinsky, but they had difficulty finding a Bible!
The Bible has been dislodged as the ultimate point of reference for national unity and oath taking. In January 2009 U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison took his oath of office on the Koran. The oath was administered by a beaming Nancy Pelosi, our third–in–line–for–the–presidency–pro–abortion–pro–gay “Roman Catholic grandmother”! Hand firmly on the Koran, Farah Pandith, an Indian–American, was formally sworn into the Obama administration (September 16, 2009), by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
President Obama has declared (correctly) that we are not a Christian nation. He has banished the celebration of the National Day of Prayer in the White House. But in an interview with the New York Times, he described the Muslim prayer call as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” According to the Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof, president Obama recited, “with a first–class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the prayer that will be uttered on September 25 by 50,000 Muslims, praying on the National Mall the exclusive affirmation: “Allah is Supreme!…I witness that there is no god but Allah…I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …” Some of the Muslim planners have the goal of “bringing of the White House into the House of Islam” (a subject that deserves separate treatment). The point here is that the United States no longer has a common sacred faith or text that unites us. No wonder we are “coming apart” as a nation. Who will put Humpty Dumpty together again?
Other religious texts will clamor for their rights. How many different scriptures will we need for the swearing in of Buddhists, pagans, shamans, animists, wiccans or atheists? What does it mean to swear fealty to national office on “sacred texts” that are inherently contradictory? The whole process is a sham. Jahweh, Allah, Krishna, the “Golden Calf,” “none of the above”? It doesn’t matter. You might as well swear on a double cheeseburger, which may currently represent the fundamental hopes of many in our present society better than any holy book! Meanwhile, the pagan religious/political forces, now harnessing power, are putting in place their “common denominator” for tomorrow’s unified America, unified around some powerful form of “the worship of creation rather than the worship of the Creator” (Romans 1:25).