What is left of our culture seems to be suffering from a lack of proportion. Almost everything must be taken to its extreme.
The demands of extremism ironically produce a cowed populace afraid to deviate even in the least from approved behavior and ideas.
A child must be expelled from school if he draws a picture of a gun. A teacher must be placed on leave if she uses logical restraint.
A teenage boy who takes a swing at a policeman must be arrested, jailed, given a psychological evaluation and a criminal record. At one time, the policeman would have knocked him down and then sent the boy back to his father who would do the same, and that would have been the end of the matter.
Some men have become reluctant to interact with women in the workplace. They are justifiably afraid they could be accused of something so terrible they would be fired. The claim itself is all that is needed.
People feel justified in walking into peaceful gatherings, even of people they don’t identify with, and begin shouting because someone has said something with which they disagree.
Some of this, I believe, has resulted from the demise of our cultural religious foundation. People don’t give up religions, they substitute one for another. Politics has become a religion for many. Others have made their own version of science into their religion.
This has resulted in the means and goals of politics and science becoming imbued with “holiness.” That is to say, they have been turned into moral attributes that must be embraced by the righteous and denied by the sinners. How can one remain neutral when exposed to immorality? How can one remain silent when others are promoting evil?
A statue of Robert E. Less must be removed so as not to expose us to sin.
During the Easter season, a church leader reminded us of a forgotten truth. Meekness, he said, is the foundation of spirituality.
In the new religions, there is no place for meekness. The very word is a negative. The meek do not inherit the earth. The world belongs to the strident, the self-righteous and the powerful.
Without meekness, conversion is allowed but not forgiveness. A person is either a believer or a denier, correct or a hater. There is no room for balance. There is nothing in a person’s life that can compensate for a violation of today’s absolutes and their corresponding signals of virtue.
It no longer matters what Robert E. Lee or Thomas Jefferson did if they owned a slave. It no longer matters that a man has treated all women with the utmost respect if he was guilty of an error 30 years ago.
All that matters is the absolute obedience to the holiness of the present. That might change in a moment, but the underlying foundation built upon the emphatic denial of the cultural and time-tested religions remains a constant.