I’m not strongly compelled toward politics, though I understand politics can serve a vital role in how our lives play out. And while I do vote, like many, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with the great divide in our country, expressed most loudly through politics. For a natural peacemaker, it’s disconcerting to say the least.
But I’ve been ruminating on something that is causing me to come out of my no-politics comfort zone just a bit, mainly because it’s so disturbing to me that saying nothing feels even more against my nature.
I’m talking about the rotten tomatoes that seemed to have been hurled at God during the Democratic National Convention a few weeks back.
It’s old news now. Most everyone in America has seen the television coverage or a video of the relevant portion of the convention when a verbal vote is taken to decide whether to keep God out of the wording in the party platform.
Apparently those who framed this year’s platform determined God isn’t worthy enough of a mention, so they deleted all references to God. If the document had stood as such, it would have been an historical first. However, the White House noted the potential avalanche and quickly tried changing courses by putting the decision to a vote, with the intention, I think, of welcoming God back to the stage. Instead, he was booed off — again, and yet again — by an uncomfortably large segment of those present.
It was, in my opinion, a huge mistake — both to remove God and then to, in essence, try putting God to a vote. It seemed a little like trying to stuff toothpaste back into the tube. Indeed, the vote to reinsert God into the platform verbiage ended up embarrassingly inconclusive. If you’ve seen the footage and you believe in God, you likely were as uncomfortable as I watching Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles and convention chairman, react to this surprising response. Two tries later (both of those were just as inconclusive), he declared that the vote to bring God back in had passed, even though it wasn’t in any way clear that’s what the majority of those present wanted.
The response to his shaky declaration? A resounding and collective “boooooooooo!” from the crowd. Or, as I’m asserting here, rotten tomatoes for God.
Now, I realize there might be any number of ways to interpret exactly what was being booed, but as a child of God and one who feels God deserves to be part of our everyday — especially since He, well, is wholly responsible for our existence, not to mention the world’s — I was incredibly disheartened to hear the din of booing. Was I stunned? Not so much, unfortunately. I wish I had been.
For years, I’ve been hearing about a growing secularism that wants nothing more than to eliminate God from our world. Not that God could be eliminated; God has always been and always will be. You can close your eyes in a room with a lighted candle and hope it will be diminished by that act of drawing down your lids like curtains, but the light will continue to shine anyway. That’s not anywhere near an apt enough analogy, but any analogy is going to pale in comparison to what we have in realness with God.
So what to make of this? Well, I’m not exactly sure. That’s why I’ve waited a bit to say anything at all. I’ve been trying to let the whole thing settle. But the more I do, the more unsettling it becomes, just like that evening when Villaraigosa had to try to think on his toes and came up short. I’d like to believe most people still have enough logic at their disposal to conclude that, as Chesterton said long ago, life is a story, and all stories must have (by logic) a storyteller — someone to put the story in motion.
This is not something we should shrug off, I don’t think. The more I ponder it, the more uncomfortable I become. Are we really that close to our European brothers and sisters who are, in many corners, standing before empty churches, now museums, and declaring God dead? We may be closer than we’d like to think.
The thought sends a chill down through the very marrow of my bones. Even if, by those rotten tomatoes, most at the convention were not saying “no” explicitly to God’s existence, I’m afraid, very afraid, that is the next inevitable step.
The only thing I can think to do, besides write out my thoughts and share them, is to pray like never before that God would be welcomed into our world — you know, the one He created — and that we would open up the cobwebbed doors of our hearts and let in the light!
There is so much confusion. There is also hurt. There is anger. There is a society of God’s children who don’t see that they are, as Our Lady noted at Kibeho, beautiful flowers in a field; all unique, priceless.
Despite my dire thoughts, I am hopeful by nature and not about to give up on the possibility that God can save our broken world. I know, for certain, that God has not given up on us. We are still here, after all, for now anyway.
It is time. Time to pray like never before, and look to God each day for guidance, asking that His will be done, and that we will not make a mistake too severe to reverse.
God be with us in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Q4U: What are your thoughts on the booing that took place at the convention? For a refresher, go here.