forgiven if we feel like hurling our lawrnbooks at the podium, or if we feel as mistreatedrnas LaShonda.rn—Stephen B. PresserrnSLOVAKIA’S PRESIDENTIAL RACErnwas not big news in May, as the world’srnattention was focused on NATO’s destructionrnof a small Slavic country to thernsouth. The predictable first-round resultsrnpitted the controversial former leader ofrnthe fledgling democracy, Vladimir Meciar,rnagainst the ex-communist mayor ofrnKosice, Rudolf Schuster. Throughoutrnhis stormy career, Meciar, who played arnsignificant role in the break-up of Czechoslovakia,rnhas been accused of cronyismrnand arrogance, and in the final run-off,rnthe well-liked Schuster walked away withrn57 percent of the vote.rnSome Western commentators are hailingrna “new era” in Slovakian politics.rnMeciar’s nationalism and intransigencernon minorit)’ questions had kept the countryrnsomewhat isolated from the rest of Europe.rnLike many older Slovaks, hernturned a deaf ear to Hungarians claimingrnspecial status. Down to the end of WorldrnWar I, Hungary had inflicted a repressiverncampaign of Magyarization on the Slovaksrnin an attempt to deprive them ofrntheir language, culture, and nationality,rnand the Hungarians belated respect forrnethnic diversity, while attractive to Westernrnpowers looking for an opportunity torninterfere, seems just a little hypocritical.rnMayor Schuster campaigned on a platformrnof continued economic reform andrna promise of productive cooperationrn(wherever possible) with the governmentrnof Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda andrnsupport for the tough austerity measuresrnit has imposed. The European Commissionrn(among many other Western interestrngroups) has been pressuring the Slovakrngovernment to solve its ongoingrneconomic crisis, but such pressures —rnwhen they were applied to Russia and, torna lesser extent, Poland—proved to be sociallyrnand politically destructive.rnSchuster’s election should clear thernway for closer cooperation with the EuropeanrnUnion and perhaps entrance intornNATO. While most businessmen inrnBratislava and Kosice will welcome theserndevelopments, others may some day lookrnback with nostalgia to Meciar’s flinty nationalism,rnforgetting all the reasons theyrnwere happy to send him into a retirementrnthat will probably be permanent. Thernchallenge to the new president will be tornsteer his country through its post-communistrneconomic crisis without turningrnSlovakia into a province of the NATOrnempire.rn—Thomas Flemingrn”ADOPT A REFUGEE,” the churchrnbulletin urges. This Protestant church isrnencouraging each of its members to donaternmoney, clothing, and personal itemsrnto the ethnic Albanian of his choice. Onrna marquee in front of an ornate Catholicrnchurch outside O’Hare Airport are thernwords, “Father, protect the refugees, inrnJesus’ name. Amen.” An ad in the RockfordrnRegister Star announces an evangelicalrnrock band’s “Concert for the KosovarrnRefugees.” And church leaders —fromrnlocal priests and pastors to heads of synods,rntraveling speakers, and televangelistsrn—seem to agree with Bill Clintonrnand Tony Blair that Slobodan Milosevicrnis the latest incarnation of Hitler. AmericanrnChristians, it seems, are “sending arnmessage” of their own to the people ofrnSerbia.rnIt is a message not readily understoodrnby Serbian Orthodox immigrants tornAmerica. “Don’t they know the KLA isrnan Islamic terrorist group?” they ask.rn”Don’t they realize that the Serbs arerntheir Christian brothers and sisters?” PersecutedrnChristians from around thernworld are also puzzled. “Where was thernoutrage concerning Rwanda?” “Why arernAmerican Christians indifferent to thernhostility faced by their brothers and sistersrnin China and India?”rnAmerican believers who back NATOrnare not self-consciously “social-gospel”rnliberals. Many are members of the Christianrnright. Indefatigable in their oppositionrnto abortion and homosexualit}’, theyrncontinue to press for federally—now imperialisticallyrn—imposed morality, abstractedrnfrom any historical context, andrnderived largely from popular sentiment.rnWhat the Serbian-Americans may notrnknow is that American Christians havernengaged in bizarre, anti-scripturalrn”moral” crusades for nearly 200 years.rnBeginning in the mid-17th centurv’ withrnthe “Great Awakening,” colonial Americansrn(particularly in New England) beganrnto identify less with their churches’rnconfessions (Savoy, Westminster, London,rnor the 39 Articles) and more withrnthe spirit of revival. Parish life began torncentralize around tent meetings, conversionrnexperiences, and “excitements.” Anrnecumenical homogenization was born.rnDespite their reputations as radicallyrnaustere Puritans, both Cotton Matherrnand Jonathan Edwards engaged in thisrnecumenism, testifying to their hopes thatrna Protestant coalition of Congregationalists,rnPresbyterians, Baptists, and Anglicansrnwould fulfill the “city on a hill” visionrnof the first generation of Puritanrnimmigrants, culminating in the millennialrnreign of Christ through His Americanrnchurch. This vision led many to supportrnthe wars against the French and thernIndians, and then the American Revolution.rnThe push toward ecumenism producedrnan increasingly feminized coalitionrnof evangelicals. Women, warned anrnangr)’ Charles Chauncy, are more likelyrnto swoon in the wake of the revival “excitements.”rnThe “Second Great Awakening”rnof the 1820’s, led by lawyerrnCharles “I’ve-been-retained-by-Jesus-rnChrist” Finney, played upon sentimentrnby employing “new measures” like thern”anxious bench” where revival audiencernmembers fraught with ginlt could comernand get right with Cod. Finney, who deploredrnthe idea of the imputed righteousnessrnof Christ, instead thundered againstrnslavery and alcohol. Thousands of womenrnand men came forward at the end ofrneach meeting, determined to fight society’srnills and save the Great ChristianrnAmerica.rnThus began a seemingly uninterruptedrnchain of social battles fought by evangelicalrncoalitions led mostiy by women.rnOften the sentiment behind these battlesrncontradicted the direct teaching of Scripture.rnThough St. Paul said, “Slaves, obeyrnyour masters,” and ordered Onesimus tornreturn to Philemon, these early evangelicalsrncrusaded as Abolitionists and electedrnPresident Lincoln, who brutalized thernSouth and destroyed states’ rights.rnThough the biblical world is a world ofrnpatriarchy—stemming from the doctiinernof the Holy Trinity—they campaignedrnfor women’s suffrage, helping to destroyrnthe solidarity of the family. Though thernPsalmist praised wine as a gift from Godrnthat “gladdens the heart of man,” and ourrnLord Himself mandated its use, they crusadedrnfor Prohibition, resulting in the adventrnof organized crime. Now, with thernPill in one hand, they hold up signs withrnthe other that say, “Abortion Kills Children.”rn”Adopt a refugee” campaigns inrnchurches across America are not aboutrnloving one’s enemy. They are a catharticrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn