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Remember the old line about the "chickens coming home to roost"? Well, here's more proof of that when it comes to the once-great American nation. Decades of disaster regarding young Americans are finally taking their toll.
The Pentagon is announcing that not only is the U.S. military missing its recruiting targets by alarming numbers, but one giant leading cause is that kids are too fat. Other causes are that they are jacked up on drugs or mentally ill or have criminal records. However, perhaps the most frightening dimension of this is that the leading cause is a combination of all the above.
Active U.S. military personnel total 1.3 million. Last year, the Pentagon set a goal of recruiting 60 thousand new members. They missed by 15 thousand (25 %). And that's just in one year alone. When it's all said and done, the Pentagon study concludes that almost 4 out of 5 kids cannot qualify for military service — that's 77 %! And remember, that's from the Pentagon's own findings.
So the military looks across the landscape of American youth and finds that the pool to choose from is too chocked full of fat, doped up, mentally ill criminals. That's quite the assessment. Likewise, as we covered last week in the Vortex, the results from that Wall Street Journal poll show that this is the very age group that essentially ditched any real notion of patriotism.
Top brass recently testified to Congress that things haven't been this bad since 1973, near the end of the Vietnam War. The military was able to make a rebound after that. However, within a few years, because there did exist a latent sense of patriotism, it hadn't been deserted yet.
Now, however, unlike in post-Vietnam where many citizens unjustifiably despised American servicemen, kids today are just indifferent, which is arguably worse. Duty, service, obligation and commitment are all going down the drain — and pretty fast.
So fast, in fact, that top brass are having to now lower the standards and consider taking kids they would never have taken years ago for various reasons. Likewise, just like what happened in ancient Rome, military leaders are looking at accepting into the ranks as a standard fare the children of illegal immigrants who were brought across the border by their parents.
If all of this has a ring of familiarity to it for Catholics, it should. This is exactly the same situation with the youth facing Church leaders. For decades, the young have not been paid attention to — except in too many cases as targets of sexual abuse. And now, the chickens are coming to roost here as well.
And likewise, to stem the outflow and gain some new adherents, the standards have been and continue to be lowered. Like patriotism has been downplayed in the country — even actually demonized in many ways — so too has true religion, as a virtue, been given the short shrift by leaders.
It's been cast not as a duty and obligation that improves a person (the spiritual struggle) but as some emasculated, feminized fellowship nonsense that soon runs its course after the laser lights are turned off and the drums are rolled off stage.
We here at Church Militant often talk about the intersection of culture and religion (the Church and society), and the reason we do is because that reality is inescapable. Of course, there are parallels — often deep parallels.
The Church doesn't exist outside the world, at least in the day-to-day lived experience of the faithful on this side of the grave. As American youth have been left to become fat, lazy, mentally disturbed criminals, the same can be said spiritually for many Catholic youth.
The problem, as Pentagon brass are discovering in casting about for a remedy to their headaches, is the downward spiral effect that sets in. Last year, when testifying before Congress, a discussion started arising that an all-volunteer force may no longer be possible — meaning that the draft would have to be reinstituted.
Regardless of the massive controversy that would cause, it does beg the question: If 4 out of 5 kids are too fat, nuts and criminals, how narrow of a pool do you actually have left to force to join up? But whatever way that goes, bishops cannot force young people to believe the Faith. So where do the leaders go to solve this problem? In fact, a deeper question is at play here.
The generals actually recognize that they have a problem; it's not entirely clear the bishops do. If they do, and that's a big if, it's even less clear that they have even thought about an answer. Perhaps someone should halt the "social justice" merry-go-round at the bishops' HQ and remind them that the Church doesn't have a draft — or a selective service.