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The Hour After The Day After
Original Article from 1983 - see also sermon

F. Earle Fox

See Sermon based on this article.

Elie Wiesel remarked after seeing The Day After, a TV show, that he felt he had seen it before, that it had happened to his people, and that perhaps we had all become Jews, it was happening to all of us.  For an hour or so following the Sunday, November 20, 1983 ABC-TV portrayal of a nuclear holocaust, he and five other persons discussed the question, "If this is an accurate picture of our situation, what do we do about it?"

What we had been abstractly and statistically aware of for three decades, as the panel noted, was graphically given to us as a foretaste experience.  But, as disturbing as The Day After was, the implications of the hour that followed were far more profound and far more disturbing.  The film was just pretend.  The hour after was real. 

Robert McNamara and Henry Kissinger were selected as knowing the inside of our government; General Snowcroft was selected from the military, William Buckeley represented the media, Carl Sagan the scientific world, and Elie Wiesel Jewish humanism.  It would have been difficult to assemble a more competent group of six individuals representing American expertise and intelligence to comment on this issue.

But one dimension was  missing from the panel.  Religion, in the film itself, was treated with not-so-subtle contempt.  The President in the film was heard to remark in his first message to the stricken people that the United States had survived the attack, that it would work to recover, and that it had bowed to no one but to almighty God,  making either God or the President foolish. 

There were passing "literary" references to Armageddon.  A religious "doomsday" scene portrayed a distraught priest reading, or more accurately raving, to his stricken congregation from the apocalyptic passages of the Book of Revelation with no coherent Gospel message, looking pathetically out of touch with reality. 

For more thoughts on this, see Sermon based on this article.

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Date Posted -  1/17/2010   -   Date Last Edited - 07/07/2012