When it is increasingly difficult for the righteous to become indignant, the bottom of a cultural decline has been reached. That’s surely where we are today. With our moral sensibilities and God-given rationality daily subjected to torturous abuse by the effete Pecksniffians who guard the temple of political correctness, it simply is not possible to sustain appropriate levels of indignation suitable to the occasions.
We are told that we are the bastions of intolerance. Berkley, CA, for example, has ordinances which make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference or religion. But as an Urban Nations staffer pointed out, “This is the glitch, isn’t it?” For Berkley recently decided that the religion of the Boy Scouts (belief in a generic God who somewhat resembles the God of the Bible) is itself a discriminatory religion and therefore not entitled to the protection of law.
Examples are unbounded: a New York City police chaplain is forced to retire after 42 years of exemplary service. Too old? No. He “allegedly made derogatory remarks about a gay prosecutor.” Pro Football star Reggie White loses contracts and is raked over the coals for telling Wisconsin legislators that homosexuals do not comprise a race: people are born Black, White, whatever, explained Reggie; they choose to engage in homosexual sin. Reggie, who also happens to be a Christian minister, said, “I am going to speak the truth. . . . If people think that’s contradiction and that’s hate, they need to take [it] up with God, not with Reggie White.” Right on, Reg.
The Internet is home to more explicit blasphemy against God and Christians than even genteel unbelievers would care to know. But to my knowledge, no one has been indicted, let alone convicted, for God-hate on the Internet. Yet in February of 1998, Richard Machado, 21, became the first person convicted of sending hate mail in cyberspace (he sent a racially derogatory e-mail message to approximately 60 Asian students at the University of California at Irvine). In May, Machado was sentenced to one year in prison.
Go into a school library for a sobering lesson in censorship. Evangelical and Reformed Christianity have been effectively banished. However, books on virtually every sort of sexual perversion line the shelves. This in the name of “tolerance.” But in February, nine high school students in Florida were arrested for “publishing” a (mostly handwritten) booklet because it contained racist language. When Larry Flynt purveys porno and anti-Christian propaganda, he’s exercising his sacred right, “however much we may personally disagree, blah, blah, blah”; but anyone, however young, however ignorant, for whatever reason, who challenges the tenets of our new Public Square religion, is to be hauled off to the gendarme. He has blasphemed against the temple!
When I say temple, I mean exactly that—no metaphor here. Political Correctness is never comprehended properly until it is seen as the inverted-mirror equivalent of Biblical laws against blasphemy. As readers of this periodical know, every culture, every law, every custom, is inescapably religious. Religions may hide below the surface, they may even deny they are “religious,” hut underneath every society’s ways and means lies a worldview which directs and determines them. And finding the deity who determines right and wrong in any given culture is not a particularly difficult task. In fact, it’s a piece of cake: just find out against whom & what you may not speak in the Public Square. Bingo! There’s your deity.
Ours is whatever victim-group is currently being led to (yes, to; we reject the claims of dilettantes that victims are being escorted from) the altar of sacrifice as a meal to the god of egalitarian Humanism. Egalitarianism stands in relation to Western Humanism as the doctrine of the Triune God stands to Christianity. The proposition that all must be regarded as absolutely equal (an utterly preposterous notion) is the cornerstone of the religion of our day, and public speech against that notion is absolutely forbidden. Even casual comments spoken by prominent people who have suggested that there might be differences among people groups have resulted in swift and immediate punishment. All this while the name of the true God is blasphemed with glee daily throughout all popular media. Say what you will about Jesus: that is a “constitutional right.” But don’t dare suggest that egalitarian myths are just that.
This posture has resulted in Christians not knowing what’s kosher to say and what’s not. Can you say. Blacks have rhythm? How about, Jews are smart? Russians are pushy? Asians are short? Italians like garlic? Germans like war? Arabs are wannabe Germans with funny headcoverings? Scandinavians sunburn easily? Whether true, false, close to or far from the mark. Christians simply don’t know if they are allowed to make generalizations. We are like children in a covenant household waiting for an answer to the question, “Daddy, is it okay to say ‘darn’?”
I remember reading an astonishing admission in the New York Times a couple of years ago. It noted that news of research proving differences between the brains of males and females was deliberately suppressed (by the New York Times) for fear that the data would be used as a justification to regard/treat men and women as different. It gets very difficult for a self-proclaimed “newspaper of record” to know what to report! Just as the Times would never have printed blasphemy against Jehovah in 1898, so it is loath to print anything at variance with egalitarian Humanism in 1998. So what do you do when the facts go against you?
Squirm. It is amusing to see the media twist in their own wind as they try to report without offense facts like this: Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean immigrants, children have the highest grade point averages (A’s and B’s), while West Indian and Latin American immigrant children performed poorest (above or below C, on average). What made the Times especially uncomfortable, though, was the fact that the differences couldn’t be accounted for on socioeconomic grounds; nor did the “discrimination factor” help explain the trend (e.g., some groups, like Cubans in Miami, belonged to the dominant group in their area, but did poorly anyway, whereas Asians often did superbly in apparently more “oppressive” circumstances).
Now, why do I bring all this stuff up? To foster hate and encourage hate crimes? Har-har-hardy-har-har! No. Just the opposite: to glory in Christ and Christianity! You see, what these modern fools talk about achieving they will never achieve; yet this has been our heritage for two thousand years.
Yes, I know: our history is certainly an uneven one (at best), but the fact remains that the religion centered in Jesus Christ is the only religion to be found in all nations on earth. Christianity alone has found and continues to find its way into the hearts of all peoples; it is Jesus Christ, whose praise can be heard in all tongues. Whose sacrifice kindles love in the hearts of men (men whose outward appearances take up every point on the most exacting “diversity” scale). From the Day of Pentecost on, our religion alone, towering above all the religions of men, has found reception^—however meager or humble, in accord with God’s decree—wherever it has gone.
And this despite the fact that our “version” of egalitarianism is a very unflattering one. The only equality we insist be recognized is this: that we all share in deepest need of forgiveness, for all we like sheep have gone astray and have turned everyone to his own way. All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God. And for all men there is but one solution: the work of God in Christ, something that occurred outside themselves. This “externalness,” this objectivity means that we Christians, unlike and above all other people-group-markers, have the potential for unity found nowhere else, for our unity is in Christ the Lord.
Beyond this, we not only recognize differences, we rejoice in them. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory when, from Messiah’s pulpit, I look upon the worshipers each Lord’s Day whom God has gathered: Gentiles and Jews, Black and White, “Americans,” Koreans, Russians, Peruvians, Slovakians, Japanese, Sri Lankans, Costa Ricans, Puerto Ricans, Italians, Arabs, Ukrainians, You-name-it-ians. What are the Liberals squawking about? They don’t know Christ; therefore, they know nothing.
The Law of God teaches us to decisively “discriminate” against the morally wicked, but apart from this, we are free to recognize (and perhaps even imagine) differences. Men are different from women (women are the norm!). We find it no surprise that different races and different nationalities would have different characteristics, different strengths and different weaknesses. So? What’s the problem? They must all give account to the one true God who made heaven and earth.
To argue for absolute equality is to argue against God at every point. For under God, distinctions abound. The chief distinction among men, according to Scripture, is not of race, but of grace. For everything is different for covenant-keepers than it is for covenant-breakers, individually and nationally. Therefore Christ’s people are commanded to bring all their strength to the task of shining the light upon the nations, the nations who are unequal outside him, and to bring them up to the full measure in Christ. If the gospel is not true, this is the most arrogant presumptuousness imaginable! But it is true — and God will surely vindicate the work of his Son by making its truth known to all nations, even until the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the seas.
Egalitarian Humanism seems like a mighty foe, but it’s just a castle of sand poised to be knocked down by the tidal wave of God’s grace, law and power. So do not fear, little flock. Speak the truth — in love, to be sure. But do not fear to speak it. I t was God who from one man made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live (Ac. 17:26). Now that he’s made them all live in New York City, let’s seize the day, and shine that light. A righteous church of all nations is nearer now than when we first believed.
- Steve M. Schlissel
Steve Schlissel has served as pastor of Messiah's Congregation in Brooklyn, New York, since 1979. Born and raised in New York City, Schlissel became a Christian by reading the Bible. He and Jeanne homeschooled their five children and also helped raise several foster children (mostly Vietnamese). In 2003, they adopted Anna (who was born in Hong Kong in 1988, but is now a U.S. citizen). They have eight foster grandchildren and fourteen "natural" grandchildren.