I don't know about you, but if I hear one more promise of change, it may be the straw that ends my association with newspapers and television until after the first week of November. But it is interesting, though the word is overused, to think about change and precisely what it means, and how change could be contextually viewed as the conversion of our nation.
According to Webster, one of my favorite experts, change is defined this way:
to make different in some particular : alter <never bothered to change the will> b: to make radically different : transform <can't change human nature> c: to give a different position, course, or direction to
I suppose that, in a political context, what we are hearing from various platforms these days is a promise that things are not going to be the way they used to be in America. They are going to be better in some ways, which logically means that, in other ways, things could get worse. For, as I have learned, even when raising children, change for the sake of doing something different is not always a good idea.
Take, for example, a haircut for a 10-year-old boy. My son used to pride himself on wearing his hair a certain way, but one day his dad took him to the barber and chose to have our son's hair cut in a different style. Well, I have to tell you with no apologies to either of them, that it was the worst change ever, as far as our son was concerned! He did everything short of hiding under the bed for the 10 days or so that it took his hair to grow out enough to have it cut "right." Bad change, that one!
On the other hand, there are the stories of people, young and old, who make a concerted effort to change their lives by reforming habits they once viewed as enjoyable, but turned out to be painful in one way or another. Making that type of change takes willpower, but those changes are always good and, most assuredly, pleasing to God.
So I ask you, what type of change is needed in America to make our nation a better place – a just and loving place – in ways that it currently is not? I think there is one answer to this that may have eluded those discussing change, but it is truly worth considering. That change is the transformation of words into deeds that genuinely respect the rights, the dignity and the undeniable miracle that every person is, from the instant he or she comes into being.
In America, we currently murder more than 3,000 preborn children every day with acts of violence that, if perpetrated against a one-year-old, would result in a criminal charge of capital murder. The premeditated execution of an innocent child under the guise of choice is an atrocity that should be changed if Americans want to see this nation survive and grow in strength.
Currently, in our nation, all manner of birth control and chemical abortion substances are marketed under the guise of helping the young, the unmarried and the married avoid the possibility of abortion by avoiding the "unwanted pregnancy." Well, I don't have to spend a millisecond explaining how false and misleading that argument is.
If Americans want healthier children, healthier young people and healthier marriages, then the deception of the past 50 years about sexual freedom must end. We must be honest enough to admit that failed policies, such as those that undergird Title X of the Public Health Service Act and other federally funded government programs, may be good for Planned Parenthood's bottom line, but they work against real sexual freedom grounded in God and His laws.
I think the real change that we need for this great nation and her people is quite simple: a change of heart. We need an attitude that welcomes children as gifts from God, celebrates sexuality as part of God's design for men and women and celebrates life as a good. Justice and freedom, when defined in purely human terms, always result in chaos, because justice divorced from God is slavery to those in power and their views of what it means to change this nation.
As the late, great Pope John Paul II taught us in Redemptor Hominis (On Redemption and the Dignity of the Human Race, 1979),
If therefore our time, the time of our generation, the time that is approaching the end of the second millennium of the Christian era, shows itself a time of great progress, it is also seen as a time of threat in many forms for man. The Church must speak of this threat to all people of good will and must always carry on a dialogue with them about it. Man's situation in the modern world seems indeed to be far removed from the objective demands of the moral order, from the requirements of justice, and even more of social love. We are dealing here only with that which found expression in the Creator's first message to man at the moment in which he was giving him the earth, to "subdue" it. This first message was confirmed by Christ the Lord in the mystery of the Redemption. This is expressed by the Second Vatican Council in these beautiful chapters of its teaching that concern man's "kingship"; that is to say his call to share in the kingly function – the munus regale – of Christ himself. The essential meaning of this "kingship" and "dominion" of man over the visible world, which the Creator himself gave man for his task, consists in the priority of ethics over technology, in the primacy of the person over things, and in the superiority of spirit over matter.
Let's get it right; let's get on our knees and ask our Lord and Savior, our King, to reveal to every thinking human being what it really means to transform a nation: changing it from godlessness to love of the Creator of all! That would be a change worthy of our effort.