Today is 7 July 2007, or 07/07/07. I know a few people who have birthdays today, but other than that, it is completely unremarkable.
Unless, that is, you are attending The Call - a Christian political demonstration, disguised as mass fasting, being held in Nashville.
The leader of this movement, Lou Engle. Mr. Engle claims that the idea for the Call was inspired by the Holy Ghost and that it is a result of multiple prophecies - not in the sense of the prophets of Ancient Israel speaking in the name of God, but in the smarmiest future-telling sense. Apparently, Bob Jones prophesied that the Houston Oilers would move to Nashville, and that their stadium would play host to a fast, and Mr. Engle himself believes that he and others have been predicting this event for quite some time (very convenient, if you ask me, that the planner saw this coming).
The event is in response to a few things. First, the 2006 election. From the Call's website: "The Church and the nation are in a crisis! In no uncertain terms, the elections of 2006 showed us that there is no clear moral foundation upon which the nation votes." Apparently, the Republican Party has ceased to align itself with morals, and this resulted in God ousting them from power (but as we all know, God doesn't like Democrats; the Republicans, then, are like Israel being defeated by the Assyrians*) Second, this is the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love. Because we all know how evil hippies are.* Thirdly, a woman blindly wrote Mr. Engle a $100,000 check and told him about it as he pondered how to call attention to the moral crisis the US is facing. (*I can not stress enough the level of sarcasm that these statements should be read with.)
On the first issue: I fail to see how the 2006 election shows that the voting citizens of the US lack a "clear moral foundation". If anything, I would say that a nation tired of fighting and an administration concerned primarily with foreign policy actually voting out a rubber stamp congress shows that the voters have an idea of what they're voting for. And since when is Congress around to legislate morality anyway? Protect the people, yes, but tell them what system of morality they should hold, no. Those participating in the Call fail to recognize our status as the first nation born of the Enlightenment. The freedom to choose for ourselves which morals we will uphold is what makes us distinct, not our imagined Judeo-Christian foundation. Congress should be more concerned with helping the poor, not keeping same-sex marriage out of the nation. Oddly enough, I think Christ would support welfare reform and getting help where it is needed.
On the second: The Summer of Love - yes, it included drug use and open sex. But it also included free health care, food, and the basic necessities of what we see as living - toothbrushes, soap, and the like. Was it in the name of Christ? No. But I fail to see how helping the needy and loving others is ever a bad thing. They claim that a "spirit of worship" was released and was not directed at God. Ok. This has absolutely no meaning and creates more questions than answers. Who was worshiping whom? What is a "spirit of worship" in terms of something that can be released (this implies that it is in bondage)? Who decided to release this spirit?
On the third: Aren't there better ways to call attention to an issue than fasting? Wasting $100,000 dollars renting out a stadium and and creating publicity does nothing to convince people that there is anything wrong with this country. I believe that there is a problem with this nation and it's priorities, but also think the way we as the Church waste money on crap like this is part of it. You want to convince people that this is for real? Use the money to help those in New Orleans - go to one of the neediest cities in the world and help to take people out of this cycle of depravity - stop poverty, which leads to violence and drug use, which leads to prison time, which leads to more poverty. Spend the money on schools, food, and health care. The hippies in 67 had it right. Even fast while you're working. But there are much, much better things that the money paying for this event can go towards.
Frankly, I am disgusted that the leaders of this event have designed a political protest and dressed it in religious clothing. You want to protest the Democratic congress? Go ahead, but don't do it in the name of the Church. I participate in a fast called the Thirty Hour Famine, as do many church youth groups. This is put on by a Christian organization and many do it because they love God. But it is a small-scale hunger strike for political reasons, and there are few questions about that. This is exactly what the Call is, though less honest about their actual intentions.
I will agree, as previously stated, that there is a moral crisis in this country. I don't think that Democrats or Republicans are part of it (though possibly the actions of politicians are). The moral crisis is that we believe in a self-gratifying country. It is all about me. Spend money on mansions, have guilt-free sex, ignore those who are of no use to me. Hollywood continues to put out movies that show this as a desirable lifestyle. The actors and musicians who call for helping the poor live in multimillion dollar houses, own upwards of five cars, and receive all the free crap they can handle for doing charity concerts. Politicians who claim to care for the lower class live the same lifestyle. And the Church is more concerned with putting on big events to call attention to fasting (I seem to recall Jesus saying something about this...meh, it's probably nothing) is part of the problem, not the solution.