“Many false prophets will arise and deceive many, and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13
The love of many is growing cold in America.
There were several major news stories in the last few weeks that made this clear. The first was the resolution of the filibuster battle. Moderates like John McCain deserve our prayers because the religious right’s leaders are threatening retaliation against those who ended the filibuster battle. This is not entirely new – James Dobson threatened the re-election campaigns of six senators a few months ago. No where in the Bible does Jesus threaten anyone with retaliation. The Sermon on the Mount specifically preaches against it. Even for those who put Jesus to death, he pleaded with the Father to forgive them “for they know not what they do”.
It is all too convenient for the religious right to claim that God is with them when they win, and that Satan is behind it when they lose. Throughout history, people have decried anyone they disagreed with as the anti-Christ or un-Christian. We are all fallible human beings and we might all be upset when we lose something we fought for, but threatening retaliation is not the action of someone who is following Christ. It is the action of someone seeking the kingdoms here on earth that Jesus rejected.
The second news story concerns the allegations of mishandling the Koran at the prison in Guantanamo Bay. The Bush administration arrogantly blamed Newsweek for the deaths that occurred in riots over the story and demanded they retract it, which they did. A week later we learned that some desecration of the Koran did take place, that allegations of flushing it down a toilet were in fact made, but have not been proven, and that the Pentagon was aware of it the entire time the Bush administration made their statements. This story comes shortly after new details of prisoner abuse at the U.S. military prison in Afghanistan became public. I hope that James Carville does not mind if I paraphrase him, but “it’s the torture, stupid“. The torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan, and of prisoners who were sent to countries where torture is allowed, are all acts of pure evil which the religious right in America has never stood up and denounced. They will never denounce the administration ultimately responsible for the torture, but will continue to deceive many by denouncing members of the US Congress who represent their constituencies instead of them.
The third news story is that of the Air Force Academy conducting an investigation of Christian persecution. This is not the Christian persecution that Pat Robertson claims, it is an investigation of Christians persecuting people of other faiths here in the United States where we are supposed to be guaranteed freedom of religion. Guantanamo Bay may be only the beginning.
The love of many has grown cold in America. In the face of all this evildoing, it is difficult to persevere, difficult to love, difficult to forgive. One of the purposes of evil is to cause us to fight evil with evil, and thereby become evil ourselves. But we have examples among these stories and many more of what we will become if we do.
We can stand up to the evil as Christians by following the examples that Jesus set for us. God will lead each of us in different ways, but if we let Him, He will lead us to resist evil, and deliver us from it. So we must persevere to the end so that we may be saved. And most of all, we must pray.[thanks again to Barb]