“He that sittith in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
– Psalm 2:4
Derision is not a commonly used word in our modern era, but it has a singularly clear meaning. The American Heritage dictionary describes it as “an object of ridicule; a laughingstock.” Ridicule isn’t a politically correct activity, but apparently God has no problem enjoying a good laugh at the efforts of men and women to remove Him as the owner and operator of the universe.
Not that the results of such efforts are funny. Quite the contrary. The results are so bad that those who brought them about will be universally held up as objects of contemptuous mirth – forever.
From this end of history, it is hard to think of the American Civil Liberties Union as a source of contemptuous mirth, isn’t it? Yet, you don’t have to look back very far in history to see what a hollowed-out religion – with man at the center – looks like. The great, murderous movements of the 20th century were all about men and women removing God from the throne of their lives and replacing Him with something more to their liking. Communism, Nazism, socialism, fascism – all of the great “isms” of modern society not only missed their mark of providing a utopian paradise, they piled the corpses of skeptics and true believers alike halfway to heaven.
Their problem has always been with God. As Charles Krauthammer wrote in his April 3 column remembering Pope John Paul II:
It was Stalin who gave us the most famous formulation of that cynical (and today quite fashionable) philosophy known as “realism” – the idea that all that ultimately matters in the relations among nations is power: “The pope? How many divisions does he have?”
The first hint of the answer to that question for me came in 1979, when I saw news photos of over a million people in John Paul II’s native Poland lining the streets during his first visit after becoming pope. As Peggy Noonan describes so movingly in her essay on John Paul II:
On June 2, 1979, the pope arrived in Poland. What followed will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
He knelt and kissed the ground, the dull gray tarmac of the airport outside Warsaw. The silent churches of Poland at that moment began to ring their bells. The pope traveled by motorcade from the airport to the Old City of Warsaw.
The government had feared hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands would line the streets and highways.
By the end of the day, with the people lining the streets and highways plus the people massed outside Warsaw and then inside it – all of them cheering and throwing flowers and applauding and singing – more than a million had come.
A million people chanting over and over, “We want God!” That was their response to a lifetime of communist efforts to remove God from public and private life in Poland.
For several generations, the religious left has been engaged in a similar effort to dethrone God in America. They have done this by embracing man’s wisdom and laws over God’s. Murder of the unborn and disabled is now “Christian compassion” in action. Homosexuals, rather than being sinners in grave need of redemption, are the left’s pastors and role models. And other Christian believers – because they rightly cite the Bible’s positions on these issues, rather than being brothers and sisters with denominational differences – are the enemy.
I bring all this up because of an important article written by James Watt, President Reagan’s secretary of the Interior: “The Religious Left’s Lies,” (Washington Post, May 21, 2005, Page A19). In it, Mr. Watt describes the vicious lies the left has concocted about Christians and the environment, circulated by so-called environmentalists and – sadly – many Christians on the political left. Mr. Watt concludes with this warning:
Be alert. I learned this lesson two decades ago – the hard way. Never underestimate the political impact of the twisted charges by extreme environmentalists now advanced by the religious left to divide the people of faith.
Psalm 2 indicates the world’s efforts will ultimately be unsuccessful against God’s rule. But Mr. Watt’s warning is well-timed: Before their efforts are exposed as futile and receive the ridicule they so richly deserve, their lies and slanders could be extremely painful and cause great damage to many people. The Father of Lies must be very proud.