The U. S. Census Bureau report has been alarming. Americans falling into poverty last year numbered 1.7 million. Today 34.6 million Americans are living in poverty, of which 12.1 million are children.
There were 43.6 million Americans uninsured, a jump of 2.4 million from the previous year, a powerful symbol of lost jobs, lost overtime, lost health care, and a lost sense of wellbeing.
Our political campaigns show a total lack of integrity and honor. They have become negative mudslinging affairs. As a result, fewer and fewer of our qualified voters take the trouble to cast a ballot. We are losing faith in ourselves as a nation.
Conrad Hilton once closed an address with this prayer that we Americans might well make our prayer on this Veterans’ Day, 2010:
“Our Father in Heaven: We pray that you save us from ourselves. The world that YOU have made for us, to live in peace, we have made into an armed camp. We live in fear of war to come. We are afraid of ‘the terror that flies by night and the arrow that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness and the destruction that wastes at noonday.’
“We have turned from YOU to go our selfish way. We have broken your commandments and denied YOUR truth. We have left YOUR altars to serve the false gods of money and pleasure and power. Forgive us and help us.
“Now, darkness gathers around us, and we are confused in all our counsels. Losing faith in YOU, we lose faith in ourselves. Inspire us with wisdom, all of us of every color, race and creed, to use our wealth, our strength to help our brother, instead of destroying him.
“Help us to do YOUR will as it is done in heaven and to be worthy of YOUR promise of peace on earth. Fill us with new faith, new strength and new courage, that we may win the Battle for Peace. Be swift to save us, dear God, before the darkness falls.”
Rev. Nichols is pastor emeritus of First Christian Church of Temple. He writes religious columns for several Central Texas newspapers and is compiling a book of his writings.