I have been known, now and again, to fret over the moral condition of our contemporary world. On such occasions, it warms my heart to think of the brave warriors of culture who are quick to defend precious institutions against the relativising onslaughts of modernity. Two recent cases in point:
- Sixty-six Senators (out of a hundred, for you public-high-school graduates like myself) voted to amend the Constitution to stop our Flag from being burned! Now, it’s true that sixty-seven (“more than two-thirds,” ibid.) would have been required to actually scoot the proposed amendment along its way, but still it’s comforting to know that such a robust majority wants to do the right thing. After all, flag burning is up 33% this year! The amendment was a straightforward prohibition against “the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” Desecration, of course, means “to violate the sacredness of,” and sacred means “dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity” or “worthy of religious veneration,” which is a status I didn’t even know belonged to Old Glory. Always learning something new, I guess.
- One Pope (that’s all there is) came out firmly against guitars in church! Because Jesus (or perhaps it is the Holy Spirit, I’m a little vague on the details) approves of chanting and organ music, but finds string instruments to be annoyingly twangy. This bold gesture fits in well with Benedict XVI’s shrewd plan to revitalize Christianity in affluent, secular cultures, where guitar music has traditionally met great resistance.
I’m not sure which of these stirring tales brings greater joy to my bitter, cynical soul. But it’s good to know that, now that we’ve successfully dealt with poverty, disease, and war, the important battles over appropriate behavior are being fought with clarity and vigor.