Once again it is election year. The airwaves assail our senses with sound bites and imagery of the promise of hope, peace, security and above all, unity. Just as we have done since the very first Presidential election, the masses will set out to the polls to choose one of these agents of change. Once the numbers are counted, the victor will take the stage and show appreciation to the voters for recognizing the need for his, or her, leadership.
If history is any indicator, the public will sit in their easy chairs eagerly waiting the coming day of unity. Predictably, it will not come. Our brave men and women will continue to serve and protect our interests around the globe and the wallets of lobbyists and politicians in Armani suits will burst at the seams. Secular and sacred pulpits will continue to vie for public opinion and the tides of change will continue to swing like the slow brass pendulum of a grandfather clock. Each corner of the eternal dialogue will claim to hold the only true solution to everlasting peace, and blame the other for its delay.
This perpetual clash of ideas and ideals often becomes a tiresome, wearisome journey which leads many good citizens into a state of mental and emotional apathy. The conversations in this election year have focused, perhaps more than any other time in our history, upon a highly emotional and passionate spiritual center. Hollywood is even vying for "face-time" in this hot issue with the upcoming release of two motion pictures, "Lord Save Us from Your Followers, Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?" and "Expelled, the Movie."
Both of these films illustrate some of the grand divides in our American culture. Intolerance comes in many forms and to claim innocence in the debate is evidence of the growing ignorance among the population. There is a war for ideas and ideals taking place but it seems, for the most part, that this is one of the first wars being waged primarily by the line officers. The would-be foot-soldiers seem merely content to watch the fray as if it were simply another entertaining reality show.
The "gospel of love" is finding its way into the hearts and minds of both the faithful and the faithless. The cry, "Can't we all just get along" rings out from day-to-day. The question then is, if such a majority of people have a desire for peace and unity, why does peace and unity continue to elude all our best efforts. Some people actually claim to know the secret to these things as evidenced by yet another book and movie coming out this year. The fallacy is those who claim to have the secret formula to peace are simply fooling themselves, and others, into a continued path of division and strife.
By definition, peace involves the absence of war; yet "the secret" many people are seeking involved the acquisition of power, property and possessions. This single fact alone illustrate that as long as one person remains unsatisfied with their own personal wealth or power, there will be no peace among us. Thus, unity itself will never find a home among a people without peace.
To the surprise of many, there was a time, long ago, when the population of the earth was at peace and unity. These people united together in a single purpose. Together they worked as a dedicated team in an unprecedented building project, the likes of which has never occurred again. A tower, higher than had ever been built before, was constructed for a single purpose. Unfortunately, this purpose was not for the benefit of the people, but was instead an effort to reach equality with God. The truth was that while unified, these brave builders were not at peace. There was a war within that drove them to unify in single purpose to reach to the heavens to satisfy their desire to not feel inferior, to anyone or anything. Ultimately their efforts were in vain as there never can be equality with God. As long as there are people convinced within themselves that they have no need for, or can make demand upon Him, there will be no peace.
The reader may or may not understand, or believe, that God himself purposely set a division among mankind to prevent their feeble attempts at equality, but the fact will remain until Jesus Christ returns. We are and will be a people divided and until that final day, divided we will stand.
Patrick Whalen is Christian husband, father, historian, writer, Civil War Reenactor, and outdoor enthusiast.