Once again voices inside and outside this country are calling it America the Violent. It's all to easy to agree with them. The history of the United States has been interrupted frequently by brutal episodes. Yet individual Americans owe it to their country and to themselves to protest what amounts to character assassination. This protest isn't chauvinism. It's realism. America has too much good to give the world for its citizens to allow this further wounding.
If you tell a kindergartner enough times that he's a slow learner, he'll probably believe it, and his progress will be impaired. If you tell a people enough times that they are inherently violent, that they have a fatal flaw that will tear them apart, they may in time believe it and experience the very thing they fear. What is needed in both cases is courage: the courage to stand up to the claim and dispute it. A solid victory over character assassination will do an immense amount in restoring national honor and providing strength for the future.
Now, it's hardly arguable that violence is a major problem in the U.S. today. The recent attempt on the President's life is an all-too-graphic example of the distance we have to go to create a society free from the fear of crime. Yet the ideals on which the U.S. was founded -- spiritual ideals of man's freedom and intelligence under God -- are still the ideals on which the Republic rests. Americans can turn to these ideals for strength to resist assassination of their national (and, by implication, personal) character. Violence has no native claim to the American heart, any more than it does to the Samoan or Scandinavian.
In God's sight, man is infinitely more than a nationally shaped material organism. He is the free and intelligent, the spiritual, immortal, joyous reflection of God. This fact demands proof, of course. Which means the courage to stand by deeply Christian ideals. A vital place to start is to realize that there is no real satisfaction in violence. Violence and brutality are self-destructive counterfeits of satisfaction. True contentment comes invariably from what is good and true and Godlike.
Want to feel in yourself the strength you know your country needs at this time? Deal with this belief that criminal violence can be satisfying in any form. When you see that it brings only suffering and that man's true nature is the direct reflection of God, you will be able to address more effectively the problems America faces.
The belief that man is material and sensual, living apart from God, would convince us that violence is inevitable in the human character. But, as Mary Baker Eddy n1 writes, "The divine children are born of law and order, and Truth knows only such." n2 God's idea, the Christ, whispers the truths of man's spiritual freedom and intelligence into consciousness. It heals the wounds of mortality and proves, through the lives of those honestly seeking divine Truth, that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." n3
n1 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n2 Unity of Good,m p. 23;
n3 Matthew 4:17;
We need to stand up for mankind in the name of God. To stand against the claims of an evil mind to inherence, legitimacy, naturalness, historicity, in man.
Such courageous prayer has authority. Authority to battle and defeat evil; to prove that evil is a false assertion of life where there is no life nor power; to show that man is truly innocent, God's perfect offspring, the child of infinite Love. And this prayer of courage has the authority to fulfill Bible prophecy. The writer of Isaiah predicts of those upon whom the glory of the Lord is risen, "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." n4
n4 Isaiah 60:18.
The need to face and overcome the claim of an inherent destructive flaw in the American character has never been so pressing. With faith in God we can meet the challenge. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night; ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Isaiah 62:6, 7