Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Cruel Nation

It is an undeniable fact that we Americans love "nice." We want to be thought of as nice, both at home and abroad. Americans hate to give offense. Americans live under a code of etiquette more strict than that of Emily Post and the code of chivalry, combined. We go out of our way to enforce inoffensiveness, through speech codes, Political Correctness, and simple snubbing. Because of this, shows of strong emotion--which might offend!--are to be avoided. One result of this is the species of patriotism that could be dubbed "Modern American". The fundamental sentiment of this patriotism is "America is a nice country."

This sentiment is, like so much of American culture today, quaint, pleasant, inoffensive, and wrong. America is most emphatically not a nice country. America is about the furthest one can get from a "nice nation" and still be on this planet.

America is the cruel nation.

Matthew 10:34 : Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

America is cruel because she forces men to choose. Prior to July 4, 1776, men could quietly vegetate under the enlightened despotism of the Great Father, or the Son of Heaven, or God's Anointed, or whatever the tyrant du jour was. Then, the revolution.

In our own time, Christ has moved from the All-Powerful Godhead into a kind of pleasant "Buddy Christ". Judgment, damnation, suffering, sacrifice--everything enduring about the Christian Faith has been stripped away, leaving only a quietly desperate "Just be nice to people, okay?"

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

All too often we hear the second but forget the first. We emasculate Christ, feminize him and remove all that is virile--and all that is fertile too. But let us never forget that Christ came to baptize us not with water, but with fire.

So it is with America. America is not just a nation, but an idea. In that sense, America is The Nation, forever transforming our notions of nationhood and citizenship. America is cruel, because like Christ, she forces men to choose. After Christ, the spiritual lives of men were changed forever. After America, the political lives of men were changed forever. No longer can any man say, I did not have a choice. No longer can any man claim, I did not know. For ever since her inception, America has asked every man the same question:

Are you true? Will you stand with truth, justice, and liberty? Or are you content to bend your head before your master?

Then she whispers, a soft whisper like a mother's sigh, like a lover's kiss, Come. Come to me, and be fruitful. Leave the night and be free under the sun. Come and know that I own you, and you in turn own me, and our marriage shall be a sweet one, and our children shall be the fruits of your labors.

Will you come? Are you true?

And like a knife, the call of America cuts into the hearts of men, and rives them from their old lives, and makes them anew.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident: that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Oh, you cruel nation.

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