Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When Camelot Fell

Today marks 43 years since President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas. There have been theories as to how it was done and even WHO was involved. But whatever the full truth, an era in America came to an end that day.

Camelot had not begun in January of 1961, but instead in the glory days of America's post war "golden age." After a horrendous and surreal ending to World War II, the general who had made it happen, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had been pushed into further service as president. Radio gave way to television and a technology war with our WW2 "allies" began a race into the heavens. Rock and Roll ruled the airwaves and the parlours as the "baby boomers" began to repopulate the western world. Prominent theologian Loraine Boetner could confidently write of post-millenialism in 1957, the same year that the Russians sent Sputnik into orbit!

In 1954 Congress added "under God" to the pledge of allegiance at the suggestion of President Eisenhower. The nation felt good, re-electing "Ike" overwhelmingly in 1956. Everything was looking good. The fifties ended and the short lived "golden age" began to show some tarnish.

A very close race in 1960 brought Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts into the Whitehouse. All seemed well, but the young politician had inherited two political hot potatoes from Eisenhower - Viet Nam and Cuba. The war in Viet Nam was not too hot, yet, though the Soviets and Chinese were playing it to their advantage. The Soviet involvement in Cuba, though, almost brought on World War III! Some say that attempts to depose Castro were tied to the assasination of Kennedy.

The same year that Kennedy was assasinated, though, the Supreme Court ruled that prayer in school was unconstitutional! In nine short years the movement to put God IN the pledge had evolved to a couunter-movement to remove God FROM the morning ritual of millions of school children nation-wide. Meanwhile, the stage was being set for a phenomenon in music that would transform the music of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly into today's "rock." In the month that the president was killed, Ed Sullivan was persuaded to sign the Beatles to sing on his show. In February, 1964, "Beatlemania" came to America!

President Lyndon B. Johnson moved drastically away from Kennedy's fiscally conservative policies in his "war on poverty" and his "great society." The anti-war movement and the "free love" of the hippies marked the sixties as a cultural phenomenon of which we are now seeing the full effect as the nation is locked in a idelogical "civil war" after two 51-49 presidential races and a mid-term race that resulted in a split just about as close.

Perhaps the "golden days" were only polished brass, but they were glorious nonetheless. Let us not, therefore, look to them for our hope. Our hope is in the Master of that land of transparent gold - the New Jerusalem. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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