In his first address to the nation following the attacks of September 11, George W. Bush quotes psalms. MSNBC devotes extensive coverage to a “miraculous” cross of steel
girders found in the ruins of the World Trade Centers. “God Bless America” is surreptitiously replacing “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem on an unofficial basis (expect the official change soon, folks).
In a commentary during the Fox News Sunday on October 1, anchor Tony Snow applauded this nation’s apparent return to religious sentiments after the September 11 attacks: “The 20th century was the “God is dead” century. In exchange it gave us totalitarian regimes, global wars and a national sense of cynicism that left us literally demoralized.”
Mr.. Snow obviously needs to touch up on his world history. Totalitarian regimes only replaced centuries-old monarchies in Europe, and feudalistic systems elsewhere, most of which proved equally as cruel as our recent batch of villains. A firm grasp of the obvious also reveals that most 20th Century dictatorial regimes garnered and held their power by invoking some self-invented divine decree (Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Uganda under Amin, etc.).
Myopic pundits would also conveniently forget the Napoleonic Wars-global by any measure-as well as The Crusades in the 11th through 13th Centuries, fought for what
reason? Oh, that’s right! Religion! As far as “godlessness” causing cynicism in recent times?
Speaking for my generation of jaded American thirty-somethings, I’d put that state of mind down first to Watergate and then the countless scandals, and perhaps even the assassination of JFK and the Vietnam Conflict. All, I’m sorry to say, Mr.. Snow-all the acts of MEN.
Look, after the WTC and Pentagon attacks, we all grappled for some semblance of comfort; God is an understandable recipient. This knee-jerk reaction, however, is hypocritical in light of the motivations of the terrorists. Remember: they believe in God, too. By invoking America’s Judeo-Christian deity, we’ve essentially degraded the issue to an argument of “Our god’s better than your god”. If this nation’s religious community wanted to be honest with itself, it must look at the question of faith, at its base level. The members of al Qaeda believed in theirs enough to fly airliners into buildings…
As long as America continues to hold on to ancient ghosts and superstitions, eschewing the path of reason, science and technological drive that has made it the most powerful nation in the history mankind, we run the risk of becoming only a footnote to history.