Friday, March 31, 2006

More Fundamental Difficulties?

I read a book not long ago which was a reasonable attempt to examine what are known as the “seven deadly sins” and some related ones. But that’s just the problem. In his attempt to be reasonable, balanced, inoffensive and acceptable to the general Christian public, the book lacks fire. It doesn’t get you to jump up with the desire to change your life. His most impassioned exhortations begin with something like, “perhaps we should ponder…”

But all that isn’t the point. The point is that this bland approach also leads to some errors which you can easily adopt if you don’t want to rock the boat. In one place he says this: “Alarm bells should be ringing in our churches over real family values, but instead, we watch liberals and conservatives bicker over issues like homosexuality and abortion, which affect only a small segment of our population, while ignoring more fundamental difficulties.” More fundamental difficulties? Is there anything more fundamental to a human being than the right to life? And is not the nature of human love and sexuality one of the most fundamental dimensions of life? He writes them off as only affecting a small segment of our population. If serial killers murdered over a million people a year in our country (like the abortion rate), would we dismiss this issue and go on to “more fundamental” ones, since such a small segment of our population was killed by them?

In trying to discover what he thought the more fundamental difficulties were, I discovered divorce, teen pregnancies, rape, and incest. The problem with the problem pregnancies, he says, is that they are “likely to disrupt the mother’s education and lessen her chances for advancement.” If the young mother had a bit of abstinence education, perhaps then she could have continued and advanced. But since she went and got pregnant, the minor difficulty of abortion could still pave the way for her advancement.

Amazingly enough, the very sentence before he dismisses abortion as a non-fundamental difficulty, he writes: “Contemporary society, so sharply focused on the happiness of the parent, sadly neglects the best interests of the child.” But that’s precisely the reason that abortion has become such a major issue! Abortion is offered by our society as a solution that preserves the freedom and “happiness” of the selfish parent—by destroying the child. The author laments the neglect of the best interests of the child, but among these interests, life doesn’t seem to be an important one! Yet he wants us to be concerned with real family values.

The reason I bring all this up is simply that support for things like abortion and homosexuality are no longer just the sick chant of the lunatic fringe. They are finding their way into the writings of otherwise intelligent Christians who have chosen to blow with the prevailing winds of the current society and do not have the courage to stand up for God’s truth. Perhaps it’s the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. But I say, if you can’t beat ‘em, keep fighting, and God will take care of the rest!

If we’re not going to take a courageous stand, God will shame us by those who do. I just read this in a letter to the editor of a Catholic magazine: “My disillusionment with Archbishop Levada began in 1996 when…he caved in to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown by paying for health premiums for the same-sex and live-in partners of Catholic Charities employees. This was in order to keep the pipeline of secular, city tax money flowing into the Church. On the other hand, the Salvation Army stood up for Jesus Christ before men and told Brown to keep his public tax money. The Salvation Army was not for sale.” Shamed by the Salvation Army! Well, God bless them!

We ought not to let people get away with dismissing the serious moral issues of our day as mere political bickering. Nor should we tolerate the mainstream acceptance of things like abortion and homosexual militancy. We have to make sure that we aren’t lulled into the same “reasonable” and “tolerant” positions of those who seek the praise of men rather than the glory of God. If we’re to be but a few voices crying in the wilderness, so be it. We’ll also be the ones crying “Hosanna!” in the Kingdom of Heaven—while in Hell there will be some rather fundamental difficulties to be pondered…