On New Orleans

To Community News:

  Mr. N,  a proselytizing  atheist, frequently sends me articles by E-mail which  disparage religion. One day I took the time and replied to him. Let me paraphrase:  I am well aware of the fact that we humans, flawed as we are, have  perverted and still pervert  religion. We have used and use religion not  to serve an almighty God, a loving father  who has created and sustains us,  but to serve our base instincts, in other words to serve the anti Christ. If you ask which is one and which is the other, the test is simple: “You shall recognize them by their fruits.” When men start  to sacrifice their fellow human beings to their gods, the fruit is bitter. When a decadent and profligate  Roman hierarchy could no longer convince its flock by its  examples and deeds it lit the pyres. When  Pope Benedict during his visit in Cologne, flagellates the Germans about their Nazi past and  does not spare  one word for the German  victims of that city and the destruction of  its  most venerable churches  in the Allied Holocaust,  I can no longer follow him. Jesus sided  with the maligned and downtrodden;  Pope Benedict is  with the victors.

   But all of this said  I nevertheless consider myself a Christian, in other words a follower, no matter how imperfect, of  Christ. For man is never sufficient  unto man. This sentiment  is nowhere  better expressed than in Schubert’s Deutsche Messe. “Wohin soll ich mich wenden, wenn Gram und Schmerz mich druecken? Wem kuend’ ich mein Entzuecken, wenn freudig pocht mein Herz.? Zu Dir, zu Dir, o Vater, komm ich in Freud’ und Leiden, du sendest ja die Freuden, du heilest jeden Schmerz. - Where shall I turn, when grief and sorrow oppress me? With whom shall I share my bliss, when my heart beats joyfully? To You, to You ,O Father,  I come in joy and sorrow for You send joy and heal all pain.”            

    A decline in religion always goes hand in hand with a decline in civilization. Man sufficient unto himself is not a pretty sight. During the French revolution the revolutionaries enthroned reason as the new goddess  and thousands of heads rolled. Judeo/Communism in Russia tore out Christianity.  The Communists  promised  a future paradise on this earth and  created hell. An unrestrained communist Russian soldadeska  looted, raped and butchered Germans. The German soldiers had at their side priests and ministers who held religious services at the front. The Russians had in their back the commissars, most of them  Jewish. The commissars did not bless, they coerced the soldiers with pistols in their hands.

  Any  European ruler worth his salt, no matter if believer, agnostic or atheist, always encouraged religion as a glue to hold civilization together.  Katherine the Great  prayed a lot and always publicly. Frederic the Great on his rounds of visitation always attended religious services and always in the front pew. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis likewise supported religion. Under the Nazis churches were built. The English and the American bombers destroyed them.

  When the refugees came and every house in Muensterhausen had to take in a family expelled by the Czechs from the Sudeten, the religious glue held our civilization together. We took them in grudgingly, but we took them, in and shared our own meager resources. It is easy to be generous when you live in plenty. But let’s see how generous you are if you have to share your bread being hungry yourself.  If in the present day Germans  would  be subjected to the same stress test, we had to endure, I  am afraid Germany would sink into anarchy as happened in New Orleans.

   Americans in contrast to the Europeans are supposed to be much more religious. I do not think so. In the US religion is  business,  and what’s good for business is good for religion. War is good for business. Is that the reason why this war against Iraq  finds very little opposition in the varied American denominations? 

   The economy of our civilization  hangs on one thread, oil. Growing up in Muensterhausen the only oil used was by a bus which  stopped twice a day and  by two farmers who had tractors. The little electricity we used came from the Mindel Canal. We burned a five watt bulb in the barn and the hayloft, a fifteen watt bulb in the living room. The average number of cows per farm were about six. The cows did the plowing and pulled the wagons. There were just a few big farmers who had a team of horses and the above mentioned farmers who had tractors. The work was hard. But we seemed to have been more content than the Germans are nowadays. There was a rhythm to life which came from religion. We lived the year of the Lord.

    That is all gone now and nowhere more so than in the US which does not even have a Sunday anymore. Eventually that thread of oil is going to break (it is fraying already). When that happens our civilization  will have no place to go. New Orleans  was only a foretaste. Farewell religion, hello anarchy.


Christine B. Miller