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Summary: Because the world is watching us, we can be stumbling blocks or stepping stones to the Kingdom of God.

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The World Is Watching

TCF Sermon

December 31, 2000

Let’s start this morning with a history lesson

It was Summer, 1968

- time of turmoil in America, for several reasons

-not the least of which was the controversy over the war in Vietnam

- like this year which ends today, 1968 was an election year

- both parties held their national conventions

- Republicans nominated Richard Nixon, who would later in the year be elected to his first term as president

- Democrats nominated Hubert Humphrey, a Minnesotan

(threw that in for the benefit of Jim Grinnell)

Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, a Demo stronghold

- Richard Daley, whose son would play a part in the Florida election mess 32 years later -was the undisputed king of the city - a longtime mayor whose reputation for winning elections helped lay a foundation for the tongue-in-cheek statement sometimes attributed to Chicago elections:

"vote early, vote often"

Anyway, despite the fact that many Democrats were very sympathetic with the anti-war movement, demonstrators targeted the Democratic National Convention for large protests

- this was the ‘60s - the era of the hippie movement - a different time in America

- I remember as a boy of 12 years old watching this unfold on television

- outside the convention center, large crowds of young people were protesting the war

- the next thing that happened was what made this such a memorable occasion

- while the convention went on inside, with most of the delegates at first completely unaware of what was taking place outside

- outside, Mayor Daley’s Chicago Police force was making sure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand

they responded to the taunts and curses of the demonstrators, and perhaps to some rock throwing, with tear gas, billy clubs and brute force…

Now, I’m not suggesting they didn’t need to use that force - I don’t know

- but what I remember is that TV caught the whole thing…

- here on live television was a huge crowd of young people

- being beaten, dragged away, tear-gassed

- in the midst of this, a chant began, indiscernible at first, but growing

- anyone remember what the demonstrators chanted as some of them were being beaten, kicked and gassed?

- they said: "the whole world is watching…. The whole world is watching"

- it was quite a powerful moment

- they were saying - you can’t beat us and gas us without everyone seeing exactly what you’re doing… and it doesn’t do much for your message of peace

- I remember later, inside the convention hall, after most of the delegates had become aware of what was going on, the cameras focused on Mayor Daley as someone called his police force a "bunch of thugs" from the podium

- it was an embarrassing moment for him, for his city, for the Democratic Party, even though for the party it was only guilt by association

- because when they were trying to win the hearts of Americans, here was a group of protesters undermining that message of peace and prosperity that all political parties try to claim as their own, with a picture broadcast to the nation and to the world of these protesters being beaten

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