Reverence is … as indigenous to human consciousness as fear …

Abraham Joshua Herschel, in Man is not Alone

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When we encounter “lone wolf” terrorists in the United States, we hear after their capture or killing that they that had lived here for a while, had gone to elementary and secondary school here (perhaps even a junior college) and that they once lived lives like others in their age group but that at a point they turned against American secular culture – that they came to loathe it.

I have yet to hear anyone who comments on these events offer any critique on the role our culture plays in radicalizing those who rebel against it and then use a radical religious disposition to aim guns or knifes or bombs at American citizens. 

It seems to me that if we are to understand what we face in these attackers, we had best understand our culture and what others find so repulsive in it.

If I were to be asked what that others find wanton in our highly secularized culture, I might say that there is little reverence in this culture – little we hold sacred.

Our culture is radically secular.  It seeks to privatize religion – chase it from the public square.  It banishes morals in favor of “political correctness” and attitudes, rules, regulations, and laws that flow from one government body or another to advance it.  In this we seem particularly flawed and actually contemptable.

The fact of the matter is this: there is little we hold sacred.  Marriage has been adulterated. It has for many no sacramental value.  Unborn children are the subject of secular sacrifice at the behest of their mothers.  The political Left seeks to make people dependent on them, much the course that the Communists have employed wherever they ascend to power. Just about “anything goes” in film and on television.  Public life is often crass and over-sexualized. Too many of our clergy fall in line with popular culture and seek silence when their voices are needed.

When reverence disappears from culture, each human being is reduced, relationships fray, communities decline, America is fundamentally changed for the worse, lone wolves flourish, and death comes to suburban malls and city streets.

Think about it.


Postscript – I am oddly amused that when I write honestly of the problems I see some people shy away, while others step forward to discuss these problems.

People prefer good news to bad. I understand this.  But, where would we be without Paul Revere, a Colonial silversmith, riding from Boston to warn the countryside that “the British were coming” and that meant trouble?