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The "Jesus Trip"

They have long hair.
They wear beards and sandals.
Some claim to have rejected everything but the basic necessities of life.
They hold up two fingers in a "V" to proclaim peace, almost like a Papal benediction.
They talk of "making love, not war," and speak of a world where each man is his brother's keeper.
They point out, with stunning accuracy, many of the hypocrisies of their elders — especially when it comes to religion.
They claim to be gentle, good, wanting to do no harm.
They are the "flower children," they say, whose goals are those of meekness and mercy.
Often, they speak of Christ.
And they don't know what they're talking about.


IT'S EASY to spot hypocrisy. Double standards are everywhere. Nations endowed with the religion stemming from the Judeo-Christian ethic have fought each other with viciousness and hate for many centuries.


A World of Hypocrisy

Mothers who presumably believed in the same god and a different government fervently prayed to that god to grant their boys success in battle, which must have been enormously confusing to whichever god, if any, heard those impassioned pleas.

A believer in Jesus shooting a machine gun is as purely hypocrital as a policy of peace through war, success through cheating, or happy marriages through adultery.

A cynical, turned-off youth easily spots hypocrisy — in others.

A father tells his teenagers to stop smoking pot. But the father who lays down this moral edict, puffs away at cigarettes with the plain statement written on the package, "Caution: Cigarettes may be harmful to health." Mother may be aghast that daughter likes hard rock, long hair, free "love" and pot, while she, the moral mama, just got back from a little weekend adultery.

Added to the general hypocrisy of our age are the hideous problems we all face. We have the bomb, the population explosion, the environmental crisis, wholesale poisoning of the basic life-support systems. Above all, we have a protracted and unfinished war.

In short, our world is in a mess.

And youth knows — and knows it knows — that it, the youth of the world, did not make it that way.


Survival in the Nuclear Age

"Be sure to lie down immediately, children, when you hear the warning siren. Stay away from the windows, and do not look at the flash, for it can blind you. Remember, too, that the shock wave will explode the windows, which could cut you in two. After the initial shock wave has passed, we should quickly, and in orderly manner, descend into the shelter at the bottom of the stairs."

These were not the instructions for the 30's or 40's. Then, teachers explained how to get out of that upper-level classroom and down the stairs, or into the metal slide in case of fire. In the old frame classrooms of the 30's, fire was feared. But in the 50's, and ever since, it's been "the bomb."

If you're over 40, the chances are you can't understand. You see, you weren't reared during the age of the bomb. Your childhood fears were "Japs" and "Nazis." Perhaps you even went to war against them.

You don't recall classroom petitions being sent to President Roosevelt, asking him to "please not press that button, Mr. President." You weren't a young adult or teenager living through the assassination of a young President, or the shooting down of his brother. You weren't a teen, filled with vital hopes and dreams, seeing the funeral processions of Martin Luther or Medgar Evers.

Your children were.

Your news wasn't filled, when you were growing up, with headlines screaming: "America's cities are burning," or bombings, riots and huge demonstrations against war. It is today.

There was little chance, when you went to college, that you could be shot while crossing the campus green. It could happen to your sons or daughters tomorrow.

Today the world is different — incredibly, enormously different. Today, you must recognize the stark fact that human annihilation is a very real possibility. Accidental war could bring it about; accidental poisoning could bring it about; biological or chemical war could bring it about.


Change Necessary — And Now!

If your eyes are open you can see that dramatic, complete change is needed. TOTAL change. And you can see it MUST BE NOW!

You can recognize a complete change is necessary in the whole concept of business and industry — that the world needs desperately to be busy in the manufacture of plowshares instead of spears, beautiful homes and buildings instead of bombs, bullets and nerve gas.

You can see total change is necessary in the pollution-producing methods of transportation, and the entire structure of city living. You can see total change is necessary in the "chamber-of-commerce growth-for-the-sake-of-growth" attitude of an ever-soaring "GNP" resulting in the pollution of the environment.

You can recognize the need for change — NOW. But you can see no change, now. Instead, you see the same tired old principles at work which were the fundamental, root cause that produced the world all around you, just "like it is."

And so can teenagers. They see the agonizing need for change. And, tragically, they too see that no lasting change is forthcoming.

Some of the most exciting conversations among teens are those which probe the cause of the evils of society. There are those long "rap sessions" about the establishment, "Agnew's rhetoric," "Nixon's War," the student groups, "pot," the rock festivals, and the crassness of parents.

This concern with the "establishment" has been the catalyst for a new subculture. They are variously called the "Hippie Generation," the "Now People," the "Happy People" — and an ad infinitum of other press-publicized names, including "The Jesus People."


Today's Teenage Tyranny

This new subculture has developed its own standard of physiognomy, vocabulary and religious expression.

Ask a teenager what it's all about and he may answer like this: "I think each person must decide those things for himself." "I think you should do your own thing — y'know, have your own bag — I mean . . . it's you, isn't it, and, like, YOU have to be you, and decide for you, right?"

Like, wrong.

Parrots repeat meaningless, simple words endlessly. And students who sit at the feet of "new" moralists have learned their nowhere clichés well. "Y'gotta do your own thing, y'know" . . .?

Like mindless machinery groaning its tiresome tune, America's youth repeats its sneering rejection rhetoric.

The looks of barely concealed outrage from middle America directed toward a Volkswagen van full of long-hairs is as downright satisfying to the hip set as wolf whistles for the gal in the yellow bikini. They like to be objects of abnormality — since everything their elders call "normal" is to them "anathema."

Somehow, gals, you just HAVE to have long, straight hair, hanging straight down. You've got to be like that endless number of burnt-faced blondes with that long hair that jounces and bounces so loosely to the wild sounds of the "Health Department Approved" (if it's not yet a new "rock" group, it probably soon will be!) Why those hanging shawls, and long purse handles or leather bags with fringes? Like, it's part of the uniform. Why scraggly sideburns, wispy mustaches and long hair? Like, it's mine, ain't it?

Haven't you ever looked at the pictures of your own money? Or don't you remember the busts of all those composers whose music you straight guys seem to dig, and you called them all "long hairs"? And, besides, didn't Christ have long hair? And didn't Wild Bill Hickok, and Buffalo Bill Cody, and most all the early founders of the nation? So what's the big deal about hair anyhow? What difference does it make?