Watching the memorial to Senator Bob Dole today. Tom Hanks in his tribute speech said “Bob Dole struggled to make America always a more prefect nation in an imperfect world”! America has always been a place where strong disagreements on policy and action have been a part of our nation. Arguments about the rights of individuals versus duty to the nation started with the first days of American independence. Yet there was something special about the “greatest generation” who came through World War II of which the late Senator Dole is a great example.
America in the early years of the war was not just fighting for democracy but for survival. Different political bents found common purpose and the absolute need to communicate and talk with each other. A day ago I was with an elderly friend who was very active in politics in St. Louis years ago with frequent interactions in Washington, D.C. He described how politicians from different parties would live in the same neighborhood, share family picnics, and sometimes a beer at the local pub. Now it is as if they are in enemy camps.
Somehow today we have lost that sense of unity. Today it is always “we” versus “they”. Our tribal affiliation is more important than the real greater purpose. Thaddeus Williams in Confronting Injustice without Comprising Truth makes the strong point that Saint Paul in his Biblical writings in Romans and Acts warned Christians to beware of this type of idolatry that leads us to see others as not also being of God’s creation. Idolatry represents a rebellion against God, against truth, and is worthless.
Unfortunately this idolatry presiding over what should be our Christian values separates us not only from each other but also God. This only seems to be increasing not only in the USA but throughout the world wherever you see conflict including Ethiopia.