As I reflect upon this occasion in history, as well as the current struggles we face as a nation, I wonder just how "united" we really are. The polarization in America seems to grow more prevalent with each passing year in regard to our politics and the cultural moral values as a whole.
Does the bell still stand for liberty?
"And if a house is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." (Mark 3:25)
The shift in values in the last 50 years sends an alarming message about society as a whole. The lack of religious conviction (as demonstrated by the growing number of "nones" when asked about religious affiliation) has to impact the moral fabric of our society. If the Church is not going to be the key player in shaping morality in society, other institutions will surely step in to fill the role. We are clearly seeing the repercussions of that shift in thinking.
This week we are hearing about the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York. Gays will be marching under their own banner for the first time. Cardinal Dolan has come under extreme fire for agreeing the be the Grand Marshall of the parade under these new circumstances. Is he condoning this lifestyle by his presence? Bloggers have taken him to task for his decision while others have applauded him for his outreach. One thing has been clear in the on-line debates about this--passion runs high on both sides.
Speaking of lifestyle choices, do you see a connection between education, marriage, and out-of-wedlock children? Last month (August of 2014), Mike Hoey published an article in the Missouri Catholic Conference supplement, The Messenger, entitled The Marriage Crisis No One Is Talking About. The statistical data in the article is fascinating. You can read the article on the Missouri Catholic Conference website. (For my readers in Missouri it should have been a supplement in your diocesan newspaper recently.)
The racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri are a symptom of the underlining turmoil that still exists in our society regarding cultural diversity. Apparently, we aren't as thrilled with diversity as we would like to believe. What is the most productive response to the situation in Ferguson and other areas suffering from the same difficulties? That debate will continue for a long time.
Immigration issues on our southern border continue to present problems. The role of the United States in world events is becoming more and more of a hot-button topic. The beheading of journalists is disheartening. Russia's moves are troubling. ISIS and other terror groups are making their presence felt. As we move closer and closer to 9/11 the question running around in my mind is whether or not we will experience another attack on the homeland. Let us hope and pray that we don't.
"Let not your heart be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me."