Is There A Message in the Rubble
of Our Memories?
By Charles Crismier III
Is there a destiny-defining message buried in the rubble of
our memories of September 11, 2001? Was the terrorizing trauma
sufficient to unlock the door to the American soul? Why has
the year last past revealed shocking decadence lurking in
our national heart?
“Connecting the dots” has been an oft-repeated
phrase since our darkest day. Yet our very nature resists
connecting the dots because we fear the picture that may emerge
and its implication for our own personal and national life.
Having solely pursued evil terrorists, have we not selectively
avoided confronting the deadly evil assaulting our souls from
Between the bookends of our moment of terror yesterday and
our moment of truth today, lie the pages of our life as a
people. The picture is not pretty. The headlines reveal, as
renowned pollsters George Gallup and George Barna have for
a decade declared, a profound “moral and spiritual disconnect”
between the way we see ourselves and the way we truly live.
“Morality, ethics and dishonesty” were named by
the Gallup Poll in 2001 as the “top problem facing the
nation...” not terrorism. Virtues have given way to
values as every one does that which is right in his own eyes.
One-third of our children are born out of wedlock as are 80%
of those in the major cities of our land. Less than half of
us believe it is immoral to live together outside of marriage,
confirming why cohabitation precedes 37% of all marriages
in the United States. Divorce destroys the building block
of the society, terrorizing one million more children every
year with fear of fatherlessness and seething anger. Embarrassingly,
the divorce rate in the Bible Belt now exceeds the nation
as a whole by 50% and is higher among born-again Christians
than the general population. Sodomy and abortion have become
normative to American life.
We are “REAPING THE WHIRLWIND” declared a massive
WORLD headline. Indeed, the moral and spiritual verities that
have guided us for four centuries have been abandoned in favor
of vices wrapped in robes of righteousness. It is becoming
apparent why America’s news magazines, as secular prophets,
warned us a decade ago that the American Dream was unraveling,
becoming a national nightmare.
Now 91% of us lie regularly. As WORLD so aptly stated, “The
wave of corporate fraud did not emerge in a vacuum. It’s
in part a consequence of a society that refuses to recognize
absolute standards of right and wrong.” First it was
Enron. These were the True Believers in the free market economy,
religiously zealous in leading the faithful in worshiping
the Market. As NEWSWEEK put it, “Enron wasn’t
just a business, it was a lifestyle.” Global Crossing,
Arthur Anderson, Merrill Lynch, Adelphia, Rite Aid and even
Xerox all displayed the new moral mantra, “the end justifies
the means.” Then came “WORLD CON” which
TIME declared, “the biggest bookkeeping deception in
Not to be outdone, American churches began revealing themselves
as “whited sepulchers”... “full of dead
men’s bones,” delivering messages without morals.
In a single week, amid massive sexual scandal, three leading
news magazines screamed in cover headlines, “CAN THE
CHURCH SAVE IT’S SOUL?,” “CAN THE CHURCH
SAVE ITSELF?,” and “PROTESTANT CLERGY and SEXUAL
As truth is trampled in our streets and all but disappears
from our pulpits, USA TODAY made clear that “TRUST”
is rapidly slipping away for all of our institutions. So profound
and seemingly intractable is the utter fracture of both truth
and community in the church that CHRISTIANITY TODAY declared
on its front cover August 5, 2002, that “Evangelicalism’s
most quoted pollster is more fed up with the church than ever.”
If that is mortal man’s viewpoint, what might be the
thoughts of the God “who hath made and preserved us
a nation?” Do we even care to know?
All of this and more has defiled our destiny and seared our
collective conscience since 9-11 captured our attention. How
have we responded? An initial surge of the unfaithful back
to church caused leaders to hastily decree a spiritual awakening
was sweeping the land. Yet Gallup and other polls declared
by year end, “We don’t find any indication of
significant change in religious behavior.” TIME put
it succinctly, after Americans “got religion”
during the Gulf War: Americans are”looking for a custom-made
God, one made in their own image.”
How did pastors, parachurch leaders and politicians respond?
They consoled us in our pain but refused to confront us in
our sins. Certainly we should have been comforted, but should
we not soon have been convicted and challenged to change?
It was called “The Day That Changed America,”
but did we change? Did you change? Truly we have given up
freedom in fear, but how about our faith? Has our horror jolted
us back to holy living? A Trade Tower businessman narrowly
escaped with his life, declaring, “It was like I was
looking into God’s eyes, and he was looking into my
soul.” What do the eyes of a holy and just God see when
looking into your soul and the soul of our nation? An honest
answer will reveal the buried message which, if embraced,
will transform the horror of the past into a holy hope for
Crismier, author of a new book, Renewing the Soul of
America (Elijah Books), is President of Save America
Ministries and host of Viewpoint. His website is www.saveus.org.
©Charles Crismier III, 2002