Christian Exiles in the American Babylon

As is the case with Francis Schaeffer, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus is also a modern-day Jeremiah. In his book, "American Babylon," he challenges the Christian faithful to be the best of citizens yet never forget that they are pilgrims in a foreign land, traveling toward their eternal home. With the resurrection of Jesus said Neuhaus, a genuinely new world order had been inaugurated, and the faithful,

"...are on the way...on the pilgrim way toward the City of God.....sustained on the way by faith's embrace of the presence in time of the End Time, who is the Alpha and Omega, the logos of all that has been, is now, and ever shall be. We are moving toward our destination, and our destination is moving toward us." (American Babylon, Richard John Neuhaus, p. 250)

For those whose primary allegiance is to the City of God, every country, though foreign, is nevertheless a homeland and every homeland a foreign country---a worldly system. Though America is our homeland, and as the prophet Jeremiah says, its welfare is our welfare, America is also a foreign country that like every worldly system is Babylon. This particular Babylon is the place of our pilgrimage through time toward paradise, the City of God.

Babylon is life in the realm of what Saint Augustine calls libido dominandi----the realm of the earthly city ruled by lust for power, glory and self-gratification at the expense of everyone else.

In this world, no matter how promising a civilization appears at its start, it inevitably ends in libido dominandi---in Babylon.

At it's founding, America for example, was lauded as the freest most morally enlightened society ever known by man. The secret to its success lay in its' firm grounding on the eternally unchanging Higher Things of the living God, that is, enduring Permanent truths which are sometimes called natural law or the first principles of ethics. In the Declaration of Independence they are called the laws of nature and nature's God as well as unalienable rights.

But over time, those who are ruled by lust for power and self-gratification managed to throw down the Higher Things and trample them into the mud. And with the negation of Permanent truths came the downward-spiraling transformation of America from the freest most enlightened society into another worldly Babylon, a contemporary version of decadent, idolatrous Rome as it was collapsing and dying during the days of Jesus Christ.

Thus Fr. Neuhaus observes that in Rome's modern counterpart, the American Babylon, it is a mark of hypersophistication to echo the question of the worldly Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" (p. 81)

Pilate was a forerunner of the morally-debauched barbarians who are our politicians, jurists, entertainers, news media, apostate theologians, and other so-called "enlightened sophisticates" of today.

In the Roman Babylon, Jesus Christ prayed an intercessory prayer for His disciples shortly before His crucifixion and death at the hands of Romes "enlightened sophisticates." Within the prayer are important references dealing with the relation of the Christian faithful to the worldly systems around them:

"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word." (John 17:6)

On one hand the faithful have been called out of the world, meaning that though they must necessarily live within Babylon, they are not a part of it and must not conform to its' systems now that they belong to Christ whom the world continues to crucify daily, thus Jesus said:

"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (v. 14)."

In other words, if they are truly faithful to Christ and to the Word He has given them they will be hated and resented by worldly Babylonians.

In demonstration of this truth, the American Babylon and its' worldly church daily accuse the faithful of bigotry, intolerance, homophobia, hate, rigid unbending thinking, as well as the sin of being anti-science due to the faithful's steadfast refusal to accept and conform the Genesis account of creation to evolutionary conceptions.

As the wrath of the American Babylon intensifies, as it surely will, the suffering faithful are to hold fast to the Rock of Truth, to persevere because Christ has sent them into the world as His witnesses:

"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world . . . that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. . . . I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (vv. 18, 21, 23).

This being the case, we are to remember at all times said Fr. Neuhaus, that the faithful live between times---between the time of the new world inaugurated in the death and resurrection of Jesus and that new world consummated in his return to establish the Kingdom of God. (p 119)

The faithful are pilgrims, exiles in an American Babylon that is nevertheless their homeland. And as the faithful "await the vindication of their hope," said Fr. Neuhaus, they must persevere and whenever and wherever possible be as salt and light in the American Babylon, for as the prophet Jeremiah says, "its welfare is our welfare." (p. 119)

Fr. Neuhaus calls the attention of the faithful to Jesus Christs' promise at the very end of the very last book of the Bible:

"Behold, I am coming soon." To which all the saints respond: "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (p. 250)

@Linda Kimball