Thursday, November 13, 2008

Artifacts Among the Ruins

Here is a strange artifact that was left on an internet discussion site. I stumbled across it this morning:

How about this. even if the constitution is not based on Christian morals, then let it begin now. It is because we the people of America have believed that our nation was founded on Christian principles that we have reached as far as we have and if this country isn't your country, a Christian based one. Then don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out because you are part of the problem not the solution. Its all to easy to stand back with criticism for what you don't understand or don't want to understand. Try getting your spriturial hands dirty in becoming part of the cure needed for this Great Christian Nation of ours. One Nation under God...

Leaving aside the debate over the true, historical nature of both Jesus and the U.S. Constitution, and assuming only what everyone agrees is true about both of them, I find it strange that anyone could think of the U.S. today as a nation which Jesus would recognize, much less approve of. But strange as it may be, I know there are those among us who believe that because they confess a belief in His divinity, and because they willingly accept a particular symbolic interpretation of the meaning of His death as the central fact of their own existence, that they have found the one truth that will save not only themselves, but the entire country.

And many of them further believe that this country is particularly favored by their God, and that our exceptional state of grace, as much as their own belief, makes us God's own nation. How anybody could think such things about a country which has done what this one has done to unto others -- to Vietnam, to Iraq, and to tiny, defenseless nations such as Nicaragua, is beyond my understanding. I also fail to understand how any God worthy of the name could love, much less favor, a country ruled by a materialistic, predatory ruling class whose greed is so extreme that it manages to get caught up in a feeding frenzy extreme enough to result in its own destruction, and does this twice in less than a century.

But then, what do I know?

It seems to me that the True God of the United States is not the Christian God, but the one named by the great 20th-century American poet and prophet, Allen Ginsberg, in his 1955 poem "Howl:"

Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs!

Now, however, the great god Moloch might be dead. The way of life this country has pursued for the last sixty years appears to have ended. Wall Street has created a bottomless black hole of financial insolvency which now sweeps the world markets before it, at a time when the most critical of the world's life-support commodities are past their peak of production. The old world passes away, and the new one is not yet in sight. We're all holding our breath, waiting to see what happens next.

The future is a mystery, but I can tell you one thing about it for certain: it will not be dominated by an ancient Mediterranean mystery cult whose centerpiece is a resurrection god of the Osiris-Dionysius type named Jesus. True, even though it's not written into law, there have been times when the Christ cult virtually owned the cultural life of this country, mainly in the century before last. But those days are gone, and they're not coming back.


Rod said...

Awesome post Dave and I have to say that the name 'Moloch' was on the tip of my tongue before I scrolled down to your homage to Ginsberg.
As always, great reading.

Joe said...

We see why separation of church and state is so important here.