Perhaps it is not unusual, shortly before a new year arrives, to see a plethora of headlines telling us what is best and worst about many facets of daily life. For example, Yahoo just announced the list of singers who destroy songs and CNN is telling the world about the "Top 10 entertainment stories of 2008.” Not really very life shattering, is it?
But what disturbed me – and was not at all entertaining – was the new Gallup poll that found that among those queried, 67 percent “think religion is losing its influence on U.S. life.” The USA Today reporter compared this percentage to that of a Gallup poll conducted three years ago, when it appeared that Americans “were nearly evenly split on the question.” But you see, the wrong question was asked to begin with, and that is what is causing me not a little concern.
Let's face it. Up front and off the bat, the media is no friend of God. They make it perfectly clear, in report after report, that unless there is a sex scandal of some sort, they are not going to "report" accurately on Catholic bishops or Protestant ministers, not to mention other religious groups in the U.S. and around the world. There is no room for God in the public marketplace of ideas, according to most of the mainstream, “drive-by” media.
But apart from that, pro-life Americans know that our nation’s people are not only moving away from Christ-centered, biblically-oriented frames of reference, but in many cases have already left the building.
Take, for example, the comments of allegedly Catholic MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who provided the Media Research Center’s "quote of the year,” selected from 2008’s “most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes.” While Matthews was being interviewed by CNN’s ever-memorable Keith Olbermann, here is how the "best" quote went down:
Matthews: "I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My – I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often."
Matthews: "No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment."
Note that the man refers to "feeling," but his comment indicates he has separated his supposed Catholicism from the stark reality that Obama is committed to doing all he can to protect a "a legal right to abortion” – thereby aborting our nation’s future.
Surely Matthews could stand a heavy dose of realism, not to mention objectivity. His comment, however, says a lot about where many Americans are today in their thinking and their ability to relate their own faith in God to their emotions – emotions which subsequently dictate their actions, whether in a voting booth, on a street corner near an abortion mill or in a cathedral where they might have to slide their chewing gum over to the side of their mouth in order to receive the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion.
The suggestion that Americans are losing touch with faith or their own religious identity is not only obvious, but also chilling. What is even more disastrous, though, is the idea that much of the public and many of those who report the news to the public are not swayed by factual evidence but rather by warm, fuzzy feelings one might experience after hearing a stirring song or seeing an emotionally charged movie. These feelings could, in a very short time, bring disaster to the healthcare profession, to our families and to future generations.
My dear friend Paul M. Weyrich wrote in a commentary published after his death on December 18,
The President-elect did make a dogmatic statement regarding the so-called "Freedom of Choice" Act (FOCA). He said he will propose FOCA, which would eliminate all State and Federal restrictions upon abortion. It would purport to force Christian hospitals to perform abortions or close. It would demand that physicians perform abortions or give up their practice…
It is inconceivable to me that a majority in Congress can't agree upon freedom of conscience. Counting the votes, I doubt that there are enough pro-lifers in Congress to maintain the restrictions previously passed by Congress. However, even honest liberals would favor allowing a physician to practice medicine consistent with his or her life-saving principles of conscience. Most Republicans, as well as many Democrats, ran as pro-lifers in the 2008 election. This fundamental issue may become the first test of their commitment to life. If we force hospitals and physicians to perform abortions against their beliefs, in other words in violation of their conscience, then we will be on a downward spiral from which there may be no return.
This will be a test, America. God help all of us.
What Weyrich is telling us is that those elected representatives, who could impose laws on Christian hospitals making it impossible to stay in business unless they perform abortions, were elected by American citizens. Many of these very same Americans apparently have no concern whatsoever for the fate of their eternal souls or the fate of the preborn baby, his parents or subsequent generations.
Does America have a crisis of faith? Yes, it does! Will this nation recover through the self-examination that should occur in the hearts and minds of all those who, we hope, realize that they have lost touch with the Lord? Only God knows the answer, but like Paul Weyrich, a wise and faithful brother in Christ, I say "God help all of us."