It is reported that when British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, thus effectively ending the War of Independence, his regimental band played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down.” As we approach the end of the second Christian millennium, one begins to wonder if the band was not just a bit premature.

During the months of March, April, and May, NATO airplanes pounded the small sovereign nation of Yugoslavia for 78 days. NATO officials claimed that it was our moral responsibility to do so. As of this writing, Russian airplanes have been pounding positions within Russia, in the supposedly autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya, which is in rebellion against Moscow, for a mere three days. Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who energetically supported the bombing of Yugoslavia, told the Russian ambassador that Russia “must stop” its bombing of its rebellious province.

The U.S. Senate passed a law banning partial-birth abortions, which President Clinton then vetoed. An amendment to the bill stated that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s ukase permitting abortion at will throughout pregnancy, should not be overturned. The Boy Scouts of America are being (sexually?) harassed because they will not permit homosexuals to be scoutmasters, and also because the Scout Oath makes reference to God. Mail-order houses from all over the nation urge us to engage in “holiday giving” (although it must be noted that one of them, L.L. Bean, did put Advent and Christmas—along with Hanukkah and Kwanza—on its calendar of important dates). Two leaders of the religious right, Cal Thomas and Dr. James Dobson, issue a call to repent of over-involvement in politics, while Charles Colson urges, “Once more into the breach!”

The national elections are a year away, but several things seem decided in advance; among the Republicans, the number of available choices has diminished to perhaps three. Among the Democrats, the “pro-choice” party, the “choice” is even more limited. Perhaps by Christmas (or, pardon me, by Winter Holiday) the two major parties will have fused in a bipartisan ecstasy of sensitivity and political correctness.

Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey have published How Now Shall We Live?, in order, as good leaders must, to offer hope to their conservative Christian audience. They believe that the surging tides of unbelief, relativism, moral depravity, promiscuity, pornography, and the like can be turned back and our once more or less Christian nation can become such again. This hope depends on two presuppositions: first, that there are enough Americans who still have biblical or Judeo-Christian values at heart to make a difference, and second, that it is possible to rouse those bewildered and benumbed masses to make the necessary decisions and to take the necessary stands.

St. John the Baptist was described in words spoken by the Prophet Isaiah as a “voice crying in the desert” (Mark 1:3), and many Chronicles readers as well as writers must have the feeling that that applies to us as well. If so, perhaps it is not at all bad, for while John’s own career was cut short by a cruel tyrant, the Man whose coming he proclaimed changed the world. If we cry in the wilderness long enough, loud enough, and persuasively enough, it may just be that those who listen and take heed will turn out to be a majority after all, and not a silent one at that.