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The struggles we face

 

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.”
Thomas Paine
Dec. 23, 1776

 

The political struggle

Today we are in a battle for the very soul of our nation. The nation is divided politically. When John Boehner, the United States Congressman from Ohio, spoke to the House of Representatives on March 22, he said, “Today, we’re standing amidst the wreckage of what was once the respect and honor in which this House was held by our fellow citizens.”

Boehner continued, “When we came here, we each swore an oath to uphold and abide by the Constitution as representatives of the people. But the process here is broken. The institution is broken. Shame on us. Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and your desires above those of your fellow countrymen.

“Around this chamber, looking upon us are the lawgivers – from Moses, to Gaius, to Blackstone, to Thomas Jefferson. By our actions today, we disgrace their values. We break the ties of history in this chamber. We break our trust with Americans.”

Sadly, in the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill the United States Congress looked a lot like the Alpha class, the ruling class, in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Furthermore, it appears that we are headed with breakneck speed toward George Orwell’s “1984,” where Big Brother and the government literally controls what the nation hears, sees, and learns.

 

The religious struggle

The political struggle, though significant, may not be as significant as the religious struggle. There is the ongoing battle between the Cross and the Crescent, the Christians and the Muslims.

Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, declared, “We are in a great struggle comparable with the two great struggles of the 20th century against Nazism and Bolshevism.” Lewis specifies the struggle as between Islam and Christianity.

Lewis stated, “In Christianity and Islam you have two worldviews that contend theirs is the one true religion. When you have two religions with the same sense of mission, the same historical background in the same geographical area, the conflict is inevitable and the conflict has been going on for 14 centuries with crusades and counter crusades, jihads and counter jihads, conquests and re-conquests.

“When Osama bin Laden and his fellow radicals drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan in the early 1980s,” Lewis continued, “people in the West saw a U.S. victory in the Cold War, but the Islamists saw it as a defeat of one of two major Christian powers.”

Lewis added, “The only obstacle that remains to the worldwide triumph of Islam is the United States. So, that is the next target and that is very clear. If you look at their writings, particularly those of Bin Ladin, they see this as the final stage in the cosmic struggle between true believers, unbelievers, and misbelievers.”

When Lewis was asked, “What are the stakes?” He replied, “The survival of our civilization.”

 

The struggle with secular humanism

Finally, there is the struggle with secular humanism, which is a formidable foe to the cause of Christ. In fact, the secular humanists have taken off the gloves and launched a merciless onslaught on Christianity. Late last year comedian Larry David, in one of the episodes of his HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” urinated on a painting of Jesus Christ, causing a woman to believe the painting depicts Jesus crying.

HBO naturally downplayed the controversy, stating, “Anyone who follows ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (which I do not) knows that the show is full of parody and satire.”

The truth is that if the same thing were done to a symbol of Judaism or Islam or any other religion there would be a public outrage.

More recently, Elton John, the aging, outlandish rock star, stated, “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.”

John would like to think of Jesus being gay to appease his own distorted conscience. He made his foolish statement because he has embraced the view that each one of us in this humanistic secular society can craft for ourselves our own individualistic moral menu. We can each decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.

Earlier this year Fox News analyst Brit Hume gave Tiger Woods some personal advice, telling the scandal-plagued (and Buddhist) golfer to “turn to Christianity” to make a full recovery. Hume stated that Tiger’s recovery “depends on his faith.”

Hume explained, “The extent to which he (Woods) can recover seems to be dependent on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.”

For suggesting that Jesus Christ and Christianity offers something that Buddhism doesn’t offer earned Hume ridicule from all sides. In response to the scorn and derision Hume commented, “You speak the name of Jesus Christ and all hell breaks loose.”

In this new century, unlike in past times, Christian sentiments are increasingly ranked among the unwelcome leftovers of antiquity. Symbols such as the Cross, the Ten Commandments, nativity scenes, and even the name of Jesus are being held up to mockery and disrespect. In fact, the things we once held dear are being depreciated – people, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious traditions, and hallowed observances.

As the Christian consensus fades from our society, we see what was once significant placed among the trifles, and trivialities are glorified. The values and norms that held us together and called people to higher ideals are considered frivolous and irrelevant.

As believers we must stay in the fight and remember there is no Crown without the Cross.