Not long ago, it was just a popular jingle for cruise ships. Now it describes a growing madness sweeping the world: “See people rocking — Hear people chanting — Feeling hot! Hot! Hot! Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it — Feeling hot! Hot! Hot!”
With the creature comforts of prosperity slipping farther and farther away, the champions of tolerance, values clarification, and fulltime preschool enrollment for infants have awakened to discover this brave new world is hot! Hot! Hot! The Arab Spring did nothing to bring about democracy in the Middle East, but it has inspired riots across Great Britain and in other European capitals as well! In London last week, the police force actually lost control of the streets for entire evenings as buildings burned, stores were looted, and mayhem was committed against innocent bystanders. There was nothing political about this. These were not homeless people demanding food or foreign terrorists throwing firebombs. Rather, these rabid slackers were young, homegrown Europeans who have no sense of spirituality, conscience or even civilization. They know nothing of character or a moral compass. In school, they were taught how to have safe sex and march for equality. Now they are willing to take whatever they want by force.
It’s gotten so bad that Prime Minister David Cameron dared to use the “M” word a couple of days ago. In a major address, he demanded, “We must reverse this moral collapse!” Two decades ago, the cultural elites warned us that morals are destructive and restricting. “Values” are more flexible and less confining. Too late we have apparently discovered that riots are destructive, and maybe morals are good for something!
It brings to mind the sneering laughter of evil Emperor Ming from an old Flash Gordon cartoon, “Pathetic Earthlings! Who will save you now?”
Sadly, mentioning morality in a speech is not nearly the same thing as cultivating faith and moral character among citizens and nations. I suspect most of the young thugs burning down those European cities have no idea what “moral” means anyhow. Unlike self-esteem, it hasn’t been in fashion in a long, long time. A speech requires half an hour. Cultivating faith and character requires years of diligent parenting and grounded instruction.
Europe has been running away from its Christian heritage for more than a century. Two years ago my son served an internship in Wales where he discovered the churches are all full of old people. The only youthful faces ever spotted in the pews belong to the isolated sons and daughters of clergymen who must attend a summer camp for PK’s each year to enjoy peer fellowship with other believers their age. Share your testimony with a student there and his first question will likely be, “What is ‘faith?'”
If the USA is superior at all, it’s simply because we’re two decades behind! Even so, we breathlessly race ahead over the stepping stones that have led Europe to decline and despair. Morality is archaic. Marriage is obsolete. Gay is good. Gender is meaningless. Sex is a toy. Drugs are good for everything. Hard work is to be avoided. The Christian Faith is superstition. Rules are made to be broken by the truly enlightened. Until recently, all this cultural revolution felt so right.
We’ll explore this further next time we’re together. For now, allow me to wrap this up with a warning we should have heeded fifty years ago. There were voices in the wilderness crying out, but they were just “superstitious old fools.” Here’s the old axiom: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 is the counsel Prime Minister Cameron is desperately searching to find. It’s so close he could almost touch it. I pray he doesn’t miss it.
Lift up the Cross!