As I go about my day, I slowly accumulate a variety of articles and links that have either been recommended to me, or that I have independently come across and intend to read later. Eventually, I do get around to reading them, albeit often after four or five days have gone by. That is the case once again, so I’d like to share some quotes from two of my favorites.
“… The Decalogue is not given simply to guide individuals in their religious, private piety. They are about how the community is called to live together in marriages, families, cities, and larger communities. Here are two ways of summarizing the Ten Words that bring out the cultural focus.
The first way highlights what God seeks to promote in human civilization. The Ten Words are intended to form a particular type of society. A community of people . . .
- that put their trust in the true God (“In God we trust”),
- that worship God in a fitting way,
- that bear the name of God in a glorious way in their daily lives,
- A civilization that safeguards people from the slavery of never-ending work and frees them to gather for worship on the day of the Lord,
- A culture that honors and obeys parents and others in authority,
- one that protects the life of the innocent,
- that remains true to their marriage covenants.
- that respects the right of private property against theft,
- where the courts are respected and justice is the norm because people testify honestly,
- that are content with what gifts and goods with which God has blessed them.
The second way of summarizing the Ten Words calls attention to what is prohibited and the consequences of violating God’s law.
- If a community of people does not trust the true God, then someone will step in and play God, and that is most often “the State.”
- People that worship God through the medium of lifeless stone statutes and static images will dehumanize themselves and will bring judgment upon themselves and their children’s children.
- A culture that bears the name Christian but does not behave as such will not be able to hide from God’s righteous condemnation.
- When cultural authorities effectively enslave people by not allowing them rest and/or denying them the freedom of assembly for worship, then the culture is in danger of an Egyptian-style judgment.
- A culture that encourages dishonoring parents and others in authority will not last very long.
- When a nation refuses to protect the life of the innocent, the entire culture will be put to death.
- An adulterous people will experience the unraveling of lesser forms of covenants and contracts.
- A nation full of thieves will themselves be plundered.
- Without honest testimony, a community’s court system cannot hope ever to administer justice.
- Coveting and envying others’ gifts and property will result in social unrest.”
Second, Mr. Ahmari with the Wall Street Journal interviews a lifelong Democrat, a Mr. Greg Lukianoff, about the death of Free Speech on American university campuses. Lukianoff points out that, even though he is personally pro-gay marriage and pro-choice, it is actually social conservatives are most likely to get in trouble on US campuses today. Here are a couple of excerpts:
“The people who believe that colleges and universities are places where we want lessfreedom of speech have won,” Mr. Lukianoff says. “If anything, there should be even greater freedom of speech on college campuses. But now things have been turned around to give campus communities the expectation that if someone’s feelings are hurt by something that is said, the university will protect that person. As soon as you allow something as vague as Big Brother protecting your feelings, anything and everything can be punished.”…
“A 2010 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that of 24,000 college students, only 35.6% strongly agreed that “it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus.” When the question was asked of 9,000 campus professionals—who are more familiar with the enforcement end of the censorship rules—only 18.8% strongly agreed.
Mr. Lukianoff thinks all of this should alarm students, parents and alumni enough to demand change: “If just a handful more students came in knowing what administrators are doing at orientation programs, with harassment codes, or free-speech zones—if students knew this was wrong—we could really change things.”
The trouble is that students are usually intimidated into submission. “The startling majority of students don’t bother. They’re too concerned about their careers, too concerned about their grades, to bother fighting back,” he says. Parents and alumni dismiss free-speech restrictions as something that only happens to conservatives, or that will never affect their own children.
“I make the point that this is happening, and even if it’s happening to people you don’t like, it’s a fundamental violation of what the university means,” says Mr. Lukianoff. “Free speech is about protecting minority rights. Free speech is about admitting you don’t know everything. Free speech is about protecting oddballs. It means protecting dissenters.”
It even means letting Ann Coulter speak.”