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Echos of a Faithful Nation

Echos of a Faithful Nation

In the heart of New York City, a striking image from Good Friday in 1956 reemerges, stirring memories and conversations about a time when faith openly intertwined with public life. That evening, three iconic skyscrapers in Wall Street bore the illuminated form of crosses, creating a vivid tableau against the night sky, reminiscent of the crucifixion scene at Calvary.

This visual spectacle, which turned buildings into symbols of faith, highlighted a period when expressions of religious belief in the public sphere were not only common but celebrated. Alex McFarland, a faith leader, reflects on the image as a powerful reminder of a bygone era where the public and cultural acknowledgment of Christianity, particularly Jesus Christ, was prevalent and unapologetic.

The act of lighting up crosses on these skyscrapers was not just an architectural feat but a public affirmation of Christian values, which many believe are under siege today. The conversation extends beyond the nostalgia of the past, touching on how the nation's foundational values, particularly those rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics, have shifted dramatically. Patti Garibay, founder of American Heritage Girls, describes the image as "otherworldly," symbolizing a stark contrast to contemporary societal values.

This reflection on history coincides with declining religious importance among Americans. A poll from The Wall Street Journal highlights a significant decrease in the number of people who view their religious faith as very important, from 62% in 1998 to 39% recently. This shift is paralleled by the disintegration of traditional societal structures, like the nuclear family, and an increase in social issues such as crime and educational failures.

Religious leaders, including Fr. Jeffrey Kirby and Rabbi Kirt Schneider, point to a broader cultural and moral drift from foundational religious beliefs. They argue that this departure has led to societal chaos, where secularism and relativism overshadow absolute moral and ethical standards. The so-called "gender-fluid" movement, for example, is seen as a symptom of this deeper confusion and loss of foundational values.

Despite the contentious nature of public religious displays, the illuminated crosses of 1956 serve as a poignant reminder of a time when faith played a central role in public life. This historical snapshot invites reflection on the current state of religious expression and its place in American society.

As the nation continues to navigate the tensions between secularism and religious expression, the memory of those illuminated crosses in New York City stands as a testament to a time when faith was not only visible in public spaces but also a unifying force across the nation.


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