Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 8, 1974, Page 20

Cedar Rapids Gazette

December 08, 1974

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Issue date: Sunday, December 8, 1974

Pages available: 170

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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 8, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 20A The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sun., Pee. 8. 1*174 Lecture Elevena* Success-Religion Conflict Editor s Note: This is the I I th of 18 articles exploring the theme, In Search of the American Dream. This article discusses the role of poll tics and religion in the early American colonies and the problems arising out of the conflict between religious self-denial and worldly success. The author is Stiles professor of American studies at Texas university. By William H Geetzmann Copyright 1974, Regents of the Univern tv of Colitornio Distributed bv Cooley News service Despite the constitutionally proclaimed separation of church and state. America has always been a Christian nation. The Puritans who landed at Massachusetts bay in 18311 came on God s errand into the wilderness, to establish a Christian utopia for the world to imitate. From the beginning religion and politics were closely intertwined in America In New England, New Amsterdam, and the Southern Colonies, governments enforced the precepts of Christian morality. Religion, especially Protestantism. however, required self-denial — constant purging of the desire for the things of this world. As thousands of immigrants poured into America in search of material prosperity, tension mounted between religious self-denial and worldly success. The emotional rhythm of Amenta thus became Manichaean. or vto- You ve Asked About lently dualistic — with high elation over its evident material progress alternating with deep guilt over an original sin of assumed spiritual failure The Twentieth century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr has rightly called Americans “the children of light and the children of darkness.” Religious Rivivals Such an emotional rhythm inevitably generate periodic religious revivals The Great Awakening swept all the colonies in 1740 as people saw themselves, rn Jonathan Edwards’ terms, ‘ sinners in the hands of an angry (aid.” They also followed Edwards, how ever, in the fervent expectation that after its purification America would receive Christ himself in a second coming. Millennialism thus became an important strain of American thought Even the Revolution was seen in these terms: It was a protest of God-fearing people against a corrupt King and his profligate ministers and agents on both sides of the Atlantic. The success of the new republican nation meant to many the beginning of an earthly millennium. Over and over again Americans reminded themselves of the necessity for renewing their virtue. In 1801 at ( ane Ridge, Kv., the first of a series of massive western revivals took place For days, preachers, white and black, exhorted the backwoods pioneers to purge themselves of sin and make ready for the* bird. The people responded with profound emotionalism — falling into trances, nilling on the ground, jerking in convulsions. even barking like dogs to purge their guilt. The Sec- Social Security Officials Answer My wife's mother applied for supplemental security income payments and was told she was not eligible because she didn t meet some requirement. Me think she is eligible, (an she appeal this decision'' Under the law . she can appeal the decision in four steps — a reconsideration, a hearing before a social security official of the bureau of hearings and appeals, a review by the appeals council, and civil action in a federal court. She doesn't have to take all four steps, but if she does, they must be taken in order She must ask for the first step — reconsideration — within SO days from the date she received notice of the original decision on her claim. People at any social security office will help her make the request. The Cedar Rapids Social Security office is located in roo rn 300, SGA building, 122 Second street SE. Telephone number is 366 24 1 1, extension 431 ond Great Awakening spread into New England, splitting congregations asunder Hellfire preachers rained so much brimstone down on western New York that it came to be called “the Burned-Over District.” Amidst this time of religious fervor, one day in 1828 at Mount fummorah. young Joseph Smith had visions of angels and golden tablets He went on to found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. and Mormonism became America's largest utopian religious community Manichaean Style Fundamentalism and politics went hand in hand in America from the Jeffersonian ‘ revolution” of 1800 to the Populist party crusades of the 1800s. In the Manic haean view, political events were seen as part of the continuing struggle between forces of good and of evil In 1824. for example, the West produced a “purified" hero. Old Hickory Andrew Jackson, who aimed to take the country back to an ilder, purer time when the -eonian and the honest mechanic were the backbone of the country, when wages were hard coin arid the eastern financier did not manipulate the country Jackson's ‘war” on the ‘Monster Bank — the* Second Bank of the United State's — dramatized his drive for a political and economic purification that matched the holy crusades of the backwoods preachers Old Hickory’s political campaigns and the years of his presidency were. in his mind, "wars” of cultural liberation “The Bank is trying to kill me," Jackson once raged, "but I will kill it, sir, kill it dead " This view of struggle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness persisted all through the administrations of Jackson and Van Buren. Tyler and Polk. By the 1840s religious revivalism had fanned out into broad areas of secular reform — peace movements, temperance, women’s rights and. most of all. antislavery. A growing army of abolitionists cannonaded the South with moral grapeshot In New England Lyman Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker and William Lloyd Garrison lashed the consciences of dormant Puritans into life until funda- j mentalist and Unitarian alike joined in a great crusade against the moral evil of slavery. The South replied in I kind. While a loo southern preachers cited biblical justification for slavery, George Fitzhugh, a canny Virginian. 1 labeled the industrial North decidedly un-('hnstian in its Save Stately Homes Is Cry In Britain LONDON (UPI) - If someone were to take a Rembrandt painting into a public place and burn it to ashes, the outcry would be immense Yet in the last 55 years. Britain has permitted an equivalent outrage of wanton destruction once every two weeks. In 1955 the average was once every five days What Britan has allowed to be destroyed are the famous ‘ stately homes of England” — at least I 400 of them since 1920 That is the charge made and documented by an exhibition at London s Victoria and Albert Museum, a *.how designed to usher in European Architectural Heritage Year 1975 with a massive shock A country house, as the English use the term, is more than a house in the country It is usually a mammoth private palate, the centerpiece of a vast estate, a unity of architecture, furniture, decoration parks and gardens unmatched anywhere in the world An official report in 1950 called suc h houses "the greatest contribution made by England to th* visual arts But many of them have been destroyed intentionally because the country house outlived its time Repairs and running < oats sky rex keted Staff could not be found to look after them Expanding t itles swallowed up their land Taxes and economic t Ranges ate at their foundations 215    ll    6    lost 3rd St. Si    Washington Cedar Rapids    Iowa    City Phone 362-2646 Phone 337-2375 Open Week Nights Til 9 P M New! Improved! Smart Modem Design HIGH TIME CEILING ALARM CLOCK I Projects the time I on darkened ceiling £ Thu unique electric f alarm clock with night £ light at rear protects the £ tim® on the ceiling at night in clear large digital numbers En cased in walnut gold accent *40 ith callous exploitation of the factory workers. Northern entrepreneurs were "Cannibals all.” Battle Hymns Thus the two sections built up evil stereotypes of one another Manichaean fervor, riding the crest of guilt-ridden Christian emotions that underlay the very basis of the Republic, heightened all political conflict and split the culture into Civil war In a conflict seen as a religious crusade, compromise proved to Im* impossible: A fundamental issue of morality stood between the two sections. Julia Ward Howe perhaps liest caught the sense of the age: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword, His truth is marching on.” No war in American history so clearly marched to the rhythms of the battle hymn — whether "Maryland! My Maryland!” or "Three Hundred Thousand More”. "We are coming, Father Abraham,” sang (he Union soldiers while the dour F'reshytenan genius Stonewall Jackson prayed their Confederate opponents into battle. Bull Run, Chickamauga, Fredericksburg, Missionary Ridge, Antietarn, Shiloh, Chancellorsville. Gettysburg and Appomattox seemed to take on Biblical significance comparable to the campaigns of Moses, Joshua and the Israelites The (nil war was Apocalypse and perhaps millennium. When Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg of "this nation under God,” he had behind him a thousand years of Christian typology that made “the brothers’ war" seem a symbol of ail mankind’s history since the days when ( ain first slew Abel. America’s moral utopia was being grievously tested, Un- This painting is entitled “Voyage of Life: Youth ' and it reflects some of the problems of early America, problems that found religious self-denial often in conflict with the zest for worldly success. Furnished courtesy of Munson-Proctor institute. fortunately it would not be the last time. * Manifest Destiny Religion and politics intertwined not only domestically in America but on the international scene as well. Publicists like Richard Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas had pictured the British colonization of North America as a struggle against “anti-Christ” on behalf of the unconverted heathen Even the vast imperial struggle of the French and Indian war had religious significance for many. With the birth of the Republic, the Founding Fathers believed it to be America's duty to spread liberty, republican institutions, and Protestant Christianity across the continent. This sense of mission was at first a benign sentiment. but by the 1840s fear of British power in North America caused a new stridency: first “Fifty-four, forty or fight,” then that grandiose slogan. “Manifest Destiny," made their appearance. "Manifest Destiny” meant that God had always intended North and possibly even Central America to be United States territory The subversion of Texas in 1838. the WE’RE HERE! F&S HAS ARRIVED! UNUSUAL GIFTS FROM... I I vt* I r ar and pick your lens! special. PURCHasei ton AUTOMATIC VIVlldl. T-4 LENSES For a limited time only we can offer Vivitar Automatic T-4 lenses at low, low Special Purchase Prices. Fully automatic and fully meter coupled. T-4 lenses are offered in focal lengths from 21 to 400mm plus two zooms. Tney’re computer designed to deliver maximum optical pertormance and available in mounts to fit Nikon. Canon, I Minolta Miranda, Exacta Topcon, Leicaflex, Petri, and Vivttar SLR and other Universal Thread Mount cameras. CHCCX THIS SPECIAL! ► FREE T-4 MOUNT I Of Your Choice with Each T-4 Lens Purchased! offer good thru Dec. 24. Sale limited to lenses in stock. Don t be disappointed Shop now! Cedar Rapids Toto and stereo 1st in Selection— 1st in Service At The Comer of 1st Avo. A 1st St. SE Downtown 364-2229 ZZ Open Each Weoknight 'Til 9 p.m. = capture of California, and the invasion of Mexico in 1848-7 were simply the working out of His divine plan. Behind the conflict with Mexico lay not only a real fear of British influence and power, but also the ancient struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism — between white men and brown men less favored by God Ixrng after Mexico lay prostrate, Protesant messiahs like the evangelist Josiah Strong still preached the predestined triumph of Anglo-Saxon Protestants — "Ours is the elect nation for the agt* to come We are the chosen people ” His book. ‘‘Our Country” (1885) helped to create the moral climate for a new age of American imperialism in the Caribbean, the nud-Pacific and the Far Fast. The climax of this divinely inspire sense of mission was, of course, the Spanish-Amer-ican war of 1898. in which the United States gamed a global empire and. like Britain, its Anglo-Saxon cousin, assumed “the white man’s burden.” Reasons tor War The war itself was fought, at least in part, for humanitarian reasons. Behind the hu manitarian sentiments lay a sense of America’s religious, moral and cultural superiority. Only the United States could bring humanizing Christian civilization to these outposts of heathen darkness This attitude was symbolized in President William McKinley's explanation to a group of visiting clergymen of how he decided to keep the Philippines: “I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; . . I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidanee more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way — I don’t know how it was, but it came “(I) That we could not give them balk to Spain — that would he cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France or Germany — our commercial rivals in the Orient — that would be bad business and discreditable, (3) that we could not leave them to themselves — they were unfit for self-government — arid they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do hut to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God s grace do the best we could by them, as our fellowmen for whom ( brist also died. And I went to heel and to sleep, and slept soundly. Thus as its Christian duty America acquired a Pacific empire. A generation later another devout President, Woodrow Wilson, led Americans in a crusade for world peace that somehow never came about. By the mid-Twentieth century’. after several more wars. Americans have been left to wonder whether they have indeed been chosen, whether they are, after all, “the children of light" — or “the children of darkness.” Courses by Newspaper was developed by CUSI) Extension and funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with a supplementary grant from the Exxon Education foundation Next: Science s rnle la the American Dream, by William H. (foetzmann. Stiles professor st American studies. University et Texas. Xix ti"* mini chesil Open ivory Week Night Until 9 pm I I ;

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