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Friday, August 03, 2012

On the Chopping Block

I've complained for years that marriage is under attack. If that was the only thing, I suppose I could be relieved. But our society today has put a lot of things on the chopping block that we're ready to get rid of. Some of them could be serious.

There is the whole problem of religious freedom that has been seriously attacked in some modern nations and is teetering on the edge of serious infringement in America. We already know that we're free to believe whatever we want ... just don't put it in the public square. (But ... what if my beliefs require that it be in the public square?) I read of a Christian who was sued because he was having Bible studies in his home and the HOA didn't allow it. There was the New Mexico photographer that viewed homosexual unions as immoral and opted out of providing services for such a ceremony, only to be sued for the choice. We've all seen the recent uproar because a COO of a fast food restaurant expressed his opinion as a Christian unrelated to the restaurant or its policies, resulting in mayors and community leaders banning the restaurant from their city limits. It's not new. It's not theoretical. And it's not improving.

How about the whole concept of innocence? I've never watched the Family Guy series because, well, I am deeply disturbed that "comedy" and even the word "family" would be associated with the concept of a toddler portrayed as a sexual sociopath with a lifelong goal of killing his mother. Stewie has engaged in carjacking, robbery, and murder and dreams of world domination. The series was sued back in 2007 by an actor named Art Metrano. He alleged copyright infringement because the show had a Jesus character performing Metrano's signature act. The court ruled that the show was not making fun of Metrano; they were making fun of Jesus. When a cartoon puts a toddler up as its prime humor with laughs predicated on sexual perversion, matricide, crime, and ridiculing Christ, you must begin to question where we will look for anything resembling innocence. But we're not done, are we? Now they've released the R-rated movie, Ted, the story of a stuffed bear, wished into life by a boy, that is now a beer-drinking, drug-using, foul-mouthed creature that shocks women with its sexual overtures. Or how about those string bikinis designed for little girls ages 2-10? Innocence, without a doubt, is on the chopping block.

We've pretty much said goodbye to heroes in our society. In earlier times we liked the "good guy", the shining symbol of virtue, strength, courage, defenders of "truth, justice, and the American way." No longer. Our heroes are reluctant at best. They're bad guys forced to do good things. They're rude Tony Starks who seem unable to avoid being heroes despite their distaste for such activities. They're bumblers and idiots who manage to do something good almost in spite of themselves. If they're happy to be capable and powerful figures, they're less likely be concerned at all about the innocent. Collateral damage. Too bad. "Hero" may not, technically, be on the chopping block, but it is certainly not what it used to be, and the honorable hero is considered boring or worse.

Another thing ready to be jettisoned, it seems, is the concept of a father. Years ago I remember a conversation where a woman questioned the notion of God as Father. "What if your father was a bad father? How is that a helpful image of God?" The reply: "We all know what a good father is supposed to be." I'm no longer sure that's true. Science assures us that men are no longer needed to provide sperm. The radical feminists are suggesting that we don't need fathers anymore. Modern "studies" assure us that we don't need father figures. And your daily news channel will tell you that "good fathers" are rare, even nonexistent, but "bad fathers" are everywhere. What's left of the image of a father is now distorted by feminism and social pressure. He's a guy who is "in touch with his feminine side" and "in touch with his inner child", no longer very masculine, and certainly no longer either a responsible or authority figure. It leaves people scratching their heads. "Now, what was that about 'God the Father'? Did you mean that as a good thing?"

Just a start, but what a list! Religious freedom, innocence, heroism and honor, and fatherhood along with marriage. Oddly enough, they all relate back to Christianity. Now, I'm not typically one who buys into conspiracy theories and all, and I wouldn't even begin to suggest that a group of people today are forming a conspiracy against society in general and Christianity in particular ... but it wasn't me who said, "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). I wasn't the one who wondered, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8). It wasn't me who warned, "False christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect" (Mark 13:22). So I would suggest we be watchful, because it doesn't look like we're headed in a particularly godly direction. Christianity, I would guess, is also on the chopping block.

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