I was recently speaking with a friend, who just quit his job at a correctional facility. This is a place where I once worked, but was fired at, due to a new boss that believes in taking no prisoners. Since my firing 6 months ago, this boss has fired, demoted, or driven away many good people. What once was a close-knit family with some struggles, is now a divided work place, where many people tip toe around, fearing for their jobs.
Sadly, this seems to more and more be the norm in our society. There was a time when a person was hired at IBM and stayed forever. Loyalty went both directions, up and down the chain. The boss and the worker would look out for each other.
Today, people are just resources to use up and replace, while work locations are just a temporary place to make money, with no loyalty for one another.
The Christian values of mercy, integrity, forgiveness, kindness, seem to have been replaced with cheaper imitations. As Isaiah noted, we honor God and these Godly concepts with lip service, but our hearts are elsewhere.
Government is this way, also. We lock people up for years for smoking pot, while reaping billions in taxes on alcohol and tobacco sales (which cause much more harm than cannabis).
We place illegal aliens in a limbo state by denying them any kind of status, but also will not send them back so we can use their cheap labor for our benefit. We deport people for driving without a driver’s license, which they cannot get because they do not have any form of status – they are in a Catch 22.
When I worked in the Air Force, I managed a building that housed 600 staff. Daily, we had 3 federal prisoners come from the local minimum security prison to clean the offices. One of them was in his early 20s, and had been in about 4 years. At 18, he had a full track scholarship for the U of Alabama. He was caught selling drugs, and given a 10 year sentence for his first arrest. Now, he would get out at the age of 28 years, with us spending 1/2 million dollars to keep him imprisoned for a decade, and he would get out without any education.
As the “land of the free”, we have more people in prison than any other nation. More than Russia, with its secret police. More than communist China with 1.5 billion people.
Our nation has developed huge military and prison industrial complexes, where we can quickly deal with those, who do not follow our rules. Drones kill innocent families and Americans without giving due process. In the last decade, we’ve broken many nations and left them in chaos. Their existence and limited freedoms are threatened by radical terrorists.
Is this really the America that we want? What would President George Washington and the other Founding Fathers think of how we treat human beings here and abroad? What would Christ think?
Our Savior has asked us to be peacemakers, be merciful, do good to those that hurt you, and to love our neighbor. There was a time when our nation’s beliefs were similar to those taught and encouraged by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, in the past decades, we’ve seen much distance grow between the two. Mankind has lost its natural affection and moral compass. Instead of seeking what is right, America and many of its people seem to be seeking to grab the three things Satan tempted Christ with: physical gratification, fame and power.
Last night we again admired a bunch of actors and actresses receiving another set of awards (how many awards shows are there, anyhow???) for being glamorous enough to con millions of dollars from people. Some stood up for their personal projects in their acceptance speeches. All wore extravagant clothing, reminiscent of the costly apparel mentioned in the Book of Mormon as a sign of apostasy.
Meanwhile, we allow the Federal Reserve to print up cheap money to give away to other rich and powerful people, while such effort raises the prices at the store for the average person. We allow government to create law breakers out of people who realize they cannot afford the life insurance policy they are now required by law to purchase.
As Elder Christofferson noted, We cannot dwell in Zion and maintain a summer cottage in Babylon.
There was a time when charity, selflessness, and Christ-like love were the symbols of this once Christian nation. I fear we are straying far from the most important things, trading them for a mess of pottage.